Saturday 19 January 2019

Teenager who stole €1,600 iguana is a no-show in court

At an earlier hearing, the judge had said:
At an earlier hearing, the judge had said: "I don't know what he was on or what he was doing, but it wasn't right." (Stock picture)

A judge has ordered the arrest of a youth who "went berserk" and attacked gardai after he stole live animals from an exotic wildlife exhibition in Dublin.

The then 17-year-old pleaded guilty at Dublin Children's Court in November to stealing a rhinoceros iguana valued €1,600, a Mexican redknee tarantula worth €85 and an Asian forest scorpion that was worth €65 from Lucan Library last July 21.


He also admitted attacking a male garda sergeant as well as a male and female garda.

Last month, Judge John O'Connor adjourned sentencing until yesterday for an updated probation report and psychiatric assessment of the teen.

However, when the case resumed, Paula Egan, defending, said her client was not present and had left his family home on Saturday, telling his mother he would be back in three days.

Judge O'Connor agreed to a garda application to issue an arrest warrant for the now 18-year-old.

At an earlier hearing, the judge had said: "I don't know what he was on or what he was doing, but it wasn't right."

Gda Sgt Paul Moran had said that a wildlife lecture had taken place at the library and some exotic animals were on display.

Afterwards, the lecturer and owner of the animals, David Griffin, was returning them to his car. He put the boxes containing them in a lift but the door closed and it descended to the car park without him.

"When the door opened at the bottom, the accused removed the box containing the creatures and left," said Sgt Moran.

Gardai watched CCTV footage and the teen, who was known to them, was contacted.

While other gardai and the owners of the exotic creatures were out searching, the youth returned the iguana and the scorpion but the tarantula was still missing.

Later that day, gardai found the youth carrying a plastic box at a park in Lucan.


He was chased and caught and the spider was recovered. However, Sgt Moran said the intoxicated youth "just went berserk", lashing out at gardai and headbutting a sergeant in the chest.

"His behaviour was so irrational that an incapacitant spray had to be used," he said.

The youth, with no prior convictions, spat at one officer and tried to headbutt a female garda en route to Lucan Garda Station, where it took 90 minutes for him to calm down.

None of the animals were dangerous or injured.

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