A 14-year-old robber knocked a man unconscious and went through his pockets with an accomplice as passers-by attempted to assist the victim on the ground, a court has heard.

The juvenile and his co-accused, David O’Neill (18), of Rowlagh Crescent, Clondalkin, also punched another man who was attempting to intervene in the robbery.

The pair were involved in three robberies from men who were knocked semi conscious or unconscious in the space of an hour in the early hours of one morning in south Dublin.

The now 15-year-old boy, who cannot be identified due to his age, pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery on November 15, 2018.

He also admitted a charge of theft on October 14, 2018.

O’Neill also pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to three counts of robbery on November 15, 2018.

The court heard neither of the boys had any previous convictions at the time.

Judge Cormac Quinn characterised the offending as a “spree of robberies” in which the men had been “targeted systematically.”

He said “extreme violence” had been used on the victims and said CCTV footage had been “quite shocking” to watch.

He praised the “very good police work” of the gardaí who had identified the juvenile as a suspect while he was later in the garda station on a different matter as he was wearing the same clothing as the robber on CCTV.

He said he was taking into account reports submitted to the court on behalf of the boy and while there had been a lot of bad things said about him in the court, there was also a lot of positives and the hope for the future was very positive.

He noted the juvenile had fully co-operated, made full admissions, shown remorse and apologised.

Judge Quinn said he had to bear in mind that the accused was in the eyes of the law a child.

He imposed a total of two years detention on the boy.

Judge Quinn noted O’Neill’s expressions of remorse, his family support, and early guilty plea.

He imposed a prison sentence of four and half years, suspending the final 18 months.