Teen threatened to cut taximan's throat with a meat cleaver
A TEENAGER who hijacked a taxi in Dublin while armed with a meat cleaver has been given a two-and-a-half year suspended sentence.
The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, admitted unlawfully taking possession of a BMW, robbery and production of a knife in Terenure last May 18.
He was 15 at the time and living in a care home in Dublin. He has one previous conviction for theft.
Ronan Kennedy, defending, said the boy had been accompanied to the Circuit Criminal Court by his mother, social worker and sports coach, as he has a promising sporting career.
Judge Martin Nolan said a prison setting would have "a detrimental" impact on the teenager before he suspended two-and-a-half years detention in full.
He noted that when dealing with juvenile offenders "rehabilitation is paramount", before adding: "If he doesn't change his behaviour he is going to find himself spending a long time in custody."
Gda Lee Hunt told Gerardine Small, prosecuting, that the taxi driver picked up the teenager at a Luas stop in Tallaght at 5.45am.
The boy asked the driver how much money he had made that night before requesting his phone so he could call his girlfriend. The teenager then put the phone in his pocket and produced a knife.
The victim later described this knife as having a blade which was four inches long and a black handle.
Gda Hunt confirmed that it was "a meat cleaver-type knife".
He said the teenager then directed the taxi driver where to go while waving the knife around.
He told him to run a red light before putting the knife to his left shoulder underneath his neck.
"Give me all your money. Do anything and I will cut your throat," the teenager told the driver, who pulled over and ran off to get help.
The teenager drove off in the car and was later involved in a crash with another taxi at the junction of Imaal Road in Cabra.
He ran from the scene but was chased by gardai and arrested.
The boy threw away the victim's coin holder while being chased and the meat cleaver was found on him when he was caught.
Gda Hunt agreed with Ms Small that the teenager was considered unfit for questioning for six hours and "nothing came out" of his subsequent interview.
He accepted a suggestion from Mr Kennedy that his client had taken both alcohol and benzodiazepine that day.
Gda Hunt agreed that the teenager was remorseful, showed "some insight" into what had happened and there are "signs for optimism going forward".
Mr Kennedy told Judge Nolan that his client's sports coach was in court to support him and described the man as a "role model" for the teenager and someone who has "a positive influence over him".