Youth (17) guilty of extortion and petrol bomb threat avoids custodial sentence

Youth (17) guilty of extortion and petrol bomb threat avoids custodial sentence
The children's court in Dublin

Tom Tuite

A 17-year-old Dublin boy has avoided a custodial sentence after he was convicted of an extortion attempt with threats to petrol bomb a mother's home.

The Dublin Children's Court heard the youth, who had previously been friendly with the victim's son, demanded money and a video games console.

He was charged under section 17 of the Public Order Act for making an unwarranted demand with menaces for €700 and a PlayStation. He was also accused of threatening to damage her house in Blanchardstown in Dublin.


He denied the charges and faced a hearing in October before Judge Paul Kelly, who held the State had proved its case against the youth.

On Thursday, Judge Kelly convicted him but spared him custody, and he imposed a 12-month probation bond.

Probation Service

The teen must not re-offend and has to accept guidance from the Probation Service to divert him from crime. Breaking the terms could cause the court to reopen the case and detain him instead.

Earlier, the victim told the court her front window was smashed. The defendant came to her house and told her, "I'm sorry that someone did that, smashed your window", and continued that her son owed him €700.


She alleged the youth then said that if he did not get the money and a PlayStation, "in the next 24 hours or I'm going to petrol bomb the house".

She told the court a second person was with the boy, but she added that he remained silent.

The teen had previously been friends with her son.

Asked how it made her feel, she replied: "Scared. I'm still scared."


Her father arrived to block up the broken window. He told the court that he heard the teenage defendant saying his grandson owed money, but he told the boy the gardai were on the way.

He said the teenager started to move on and said, "We'll be back; we'll petrol bomb the house".


The teen, in evidence, denied making the threat but claimed he had gone to the house after hearing a rumour and that people were saying he had broken her window. He claimed he went there to say he did not do it and to clear his name. However, he denied the threat and said the unidentified person with him spoke, "but I don't remember what he said".

Garda Katie Callaghan told the court she interviewed the teenage defendant who placed himself at the scene, but he made no admissions.

He was 15 at the time of the incident in September 2020.

He also told gardai the woman's son had fallen out with one of his friends, and "we don't talk anymore".

At Thursday's sentencing hearing, defence counsel Doireann McDonagh pleaded with the court to consider that the teen had a good family, no prior convictions and was still in education.

Judge Kelly refused to leave the boy, who did not accept the court's verdict, without a recorded criminal conviction. Previously, he had commissioned a pre-sentence probation report which made recommendations.