Teen Accused Of Ramming Garda...


Teen Accused Of Ramming Garda Car To Face Circuit Court Trial

Laura Donnelly
Laura Donnelly

05:30 10 Jul 2023

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A Dublin teenager accused of twice ramming a patrol vehicle carrying two gardai with a stolen car "maintains his innocence" and will face a Circuit Court trial.

Videos of the incident at Cherry Orchard Avenue in Ballyfermot went viral on social media last year.

The Dublin Children's Court heard a stolen silver Toyota Aqua collided head-on twice with the garda car, which was also "side-swiped" once by another stolen car on the evening of September 19, 2022.

The boy, 16, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was initially accused of driving two stolen Toyota Aquas, dangerous driving on Cherry Orchard Avenue, and criminal damage to a garda car.

The case was later upgraded with two additional counts of endangerment of the lives of the two gardai.

The Director of Public Prosecutions had recommended the case be sent to the Circuit Court, which has broader sentencing powers. The boy, 15 at the time of the incident, faced a preliminary hearing to consider his trial venue.

Judge Brendan Toale heard an outline of the evidence from Garda Daniel Matthewson and viewed a compilation of video evidence showing that the two stolen cars were parked at another location beforehand.

Gardai obtained CCTV footage from various locations, including a double-decker bus, showing the car with screeching tyres, performing hand brake turns and "driving with total disregard for other road users and pedestrians."

Garda Matthewson, narrating the video evidence, said the cars were driven in convoy from Cedarbrook Walk.

The defendant allegedly drove a silver 2016-reg Toyota Aqua that sped to Cherry Orchard Avenue and there were "numerous" incidents of dangerous driving.

"On-coming cars had to slow down to get out of the way," said Garda Matthewson.

Traffic was "reasonably heavy", and pedestrians were on the footpath.

At one point, other drivers "had to go around a roundabout the wrong way to avoid interacting with both vehicles".

People started to watch from the roadside, cheering at them to ram the gardai, who had responded to an alert.

It was alleged the defendant rammed the marked patrol car twice as a large crowd of on-lookers "shouted encouragement".

"At one point, the patrol car is trying to get out of there, and they were unable to do that because the silver [Toyota] Aqua hit them head-on again."

The court heard that the second car, a white Toyota Aqua, drove past and side-swiped the patrol car.

The two officers in the patrol car were sore and in pain afterwards, and both attended their GP.

"They also sought assistance for the mental trauma of being the target of the ramming as they were going about their business and carrying out their duty", Garda Matthewson said.

Questioned by defence counsel Doireann McDonagh, he accepted that there were no permanent injuries but added: "Maybe not physically, but mentally".

The barrister pleaded with the judge to keep the case in the Children's Court and submitted that it was an impulsive and not prolonged incident.

Ms McDonagh added that the boy, accompanied to court by his mother, "maintains his innocence".

The barrister said the teen, who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, came from a stable, loving home.

The State urged the judge to note the aggravating factors and to rule that the matter was unsuitable for the Children's Court.

Judge Toale said that it was clear the two cars had been "parked up for a period of time" before being driven to the location, and there was an element of planning.

He concluded that the case was not fit to be tried at Children's Court level and should be sent forward to the higher level.

After refusing jurisdiction, he remanded the boy on bail to appear again in August to be served with a book of evidence.

The trial venue of the second alleged driver, a 15-year-old boy, has yet to be confirmed. His case was adjourned until September for the defence to obtain a psychological assessment report.

A 15-year-old boy who has admitted to being a passenger in one of the stolen cars is awaiting sentence at the Children's Court, and his case resumes later this week.

Reporting by Tom Tuite

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