A 16-YEAR-OLD boy is to face trial for allegedly driving a car at a garda after a judge determined the charge was too serious to be dealt with summarily in the Children’s Court.
The Limerick teen is charged with endangerment, dangerous driving, stealing a car and other traffic offences arising out of an incident in Southill on May 23 last.
Sgt Donal Cronin said the decision of the DPP to have the boy charged with endangerment was not one which had been “proffered lightly”.
Solicitor John Devane made an application under Section 75 of the Children’s Act whereby a judge has discretion to disregard the direction of the DPP - who has consented to trial on indictment - and deal with the matter in the lower court.
Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he had to consider a number of factors, including the age and maturity of the accused and the gravity of the alleged offence, in assessing such an application.
Sgt Cronin said the state would allege that Garda Niamh Keogh was near the health centre in O’Malley Park at around 4pm on May 23 when she observed the youth in a red Mazda driving dangerously. “She will allege, very seriously, that when he saw her, he deliberately drove at her and that in order to avoid being knocked down, she had to jump behind a wall,” Sgt Cronin outlined.
Mr Devane said that if the incident was as serious as was being alleged, Garda Keogh would have been “in shock” and unable to call to the boy’s house within 30 minutes. The youth was willing to comply with any directions of the court or probation officers.
Judge O’Kelly remarked that at 16, the accused was neither the youngest nor the oldest juvenile to appear before the court but was “on the older side of the middle ground” and old enough to “know right from wrong”.
In relation to the gravity of the alleged offence, Judge O’Kelly said it was “of the most serious level”.
“We have seen the devastating consequences of what can happen when cars collide with people only at the weekend” and it was all-the-more serious when intent was being alleged. He acceded to the DPP’s “request to have the matter dealt with by way of trial on indictment”.
The youth faces a raft of additional charges related to stealing cars, being in possession of filed-down car keys and further traffic offences which can be dealt with summarily and for which he was remanded on bail to appear before the court again on November 27.