A 14-YEAR-OLD burglar repeatedly refused to apologise in court even after being told he risked being detained unless he said sorry.
The boy is residing in a children's home from which he has absconded on 19 occasions in recent months. At his hearing in the Dublin Children's Court he told a care worker that he planned to abscond again once his case was over.
His steadfast refusal to say sorry for his role in a burglary has prolonged his prosecution and could hamper efforts to get him into a special care unit.
Judge John O'Connor said the teenager was trying to use his refusal to apologise for his crime as a “badge of honour” as he adjourned sentencing for three weeks.
The teen, who is on bail, pleaded guilty to taking part in a burglary at a woman's home in south inner city Dublin on a date last July.
Garda William Godfrey said he took a report on intruders at the woman's home. They had gone to her shed, tried to break in through her garage before getting onto the roof “to gain access through a skylight”.
The teenager had no prior criminal convictions and had two other charges for breach of the peace and criminal damage to a garda car which were struck out on a technicality.
Defence solicitor Gareth Noble said there are “huge welfare concerns” for the boy who was accompanied to his hearing by his mother, social worker and care staff from his current accommodation.
He had been getting help form a number of services and an on-going criminal prosecution could impact on his chances of being admitted into a special care unit for troubled children.
It had become too difficult to maintain his safety in his current children's home placement, because he engages in “risk taking behaviour”, the court heard.
The youngster sat back smiling with his hands resting on his head while evidence was given and as his solicitor addressed the judge.
Judge O'Connor told the boy he was very young and he did not want to see him before the court. However, he had caused hurt and affected others, “You need to face up to that.”
The judge also the teenager had issues and is very angry as he offered to give him a chance to put the case behind him if he apologised in a letter to be passed on to the woman.
“No,” the boy replied, adding “I am not apologising....I am not writing a letter”. He was told that he could be let off if he said sorry but the teen shook his head saying: “I am not apologising, I done it, I am not sorry for it.”
Even after being told he could be detained, the boy said calmly, “I am not apologising”.
The judge ordered a recess to give him time to talk to his lawyer. After 15 minutes, the boy, who is on bail, came back into court . He hadn't changed his mind and a care worker said the teenager had said during the break in the case that he was going to abscond again.
“I wanted to deal with it today, you have not given me an opportunity to do that,” the judge told the boy as he adjourned sentencing.