FRI, 12 MAR, 2021 – 15:42 ISABEL HAYES
A young man who attacked a taxi driver and tried to rob his car when he was 16 years old has been jailed for 16 months.
Jason Collins (now aged 19) is currently serving a two-and-a-half year sentence for a similar attack on a taxi driver, in which his older brother wrapped a phone charger cable around the driver’s neck while Collins rifled through his pockets.
Collins, with an address at Lefroy House, Dublin, pleaded guilty to one count of attempting to rob the taxi driver and one count of assault causing him harm at Bluebell Avenue, Dublin on May 15, 2018.
Garda Christopher Reddy told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that Collins and two teenage girls flagged down the taxi in Cork Street at around 4am in the morning in question.
When they got to their destination, Collins took out what appeared to be a flick knife and told the driver: “You can get just leave the taxi nicely or I will rob it”, before punching him in the face.
Driver punched and kicked
As the driver got out of the car, Collins punched and kicked him as he lay on the ground. The driver managed to flee the scene while still holding his car keys. He was taken to hospital for treatment to a number of injuries, including facial cuts and a broken tooth.
The three teenagers also fled the scene but were apprehended by gardaí a short while later. Collins had blood on his clothes and was taken to hospital for a hand injury he sustained while carrying out the punches.
For various reasons relating to “juvenile referrals”, the court heard Collins was not charged with the offence until September 2020. During that time, he carried out the other taxi driver attack with his brother. He has a number of previous convictions.
Collins was homeless at the time and was a “teenager in crisis”, defence barrister Aoife O’Leary BL told the court. He was taken into care as a child and started taking drink and drugs at a young age.
He is a father of one. The mother of his child died earlier this year due to an accidental drug overdose.
Judge Elma Sheahan conveyed her condolences to Collins on his recent bereavement. She noted he has faced “significant adversity” in his young life.
She handed down a sentence of two years and four months but suspended the final 12 months on a number of conditions.