Tuesday 25 July 2017

Boy (14) remanded in custody after string of attacks, vandalism and theft


A TROUBLED 14-year-old boy who has admitted attacking care staff, vandalising a children's residential unit and stealing a car from the facility during a "fit of rage", was remanded in custody today.

The boy had been due to face sentencing later this month and a probation report on him had been requested. However, he was brought before the the Dublin Children's Court again today over another incident yesterday. The court heard he damaged a stand and a jar at his accommodation when he was refused permission to leave.

Garda Darragh Lynch said the charges did not do justice to the level of aggression the boy showed during the incident. The teen had also threatened staff that he would get people to come to his accommodation to help him.

The boy's lawyer said that the boy had been found suitable to be placed in a high support unit but it was not known when that would happen.

Judge Ryan revoked his bail and remanded him in custody. She asked for the HSE to be represented at his hearing when it resumes next week.

The court has already heard that the young boy who had been living in a HSE-run unit for troubled teens had engaged in a number of “risk-taking” incidents and had also been caught possessing cannabis at the facility.

On October 8 last, gardaí responded to a report of a disruption at the unit and found that the boy had “broken door handles and rubbish was thrown around the place”. A few days earlier the teenager broke a picture frame a door and a table.

Also in October, he stole a car from the unit and briefly took it “for a spin” before he was persuaded by youth workers to get out of the vehicle. He had pushed a care worker beforehand when he was taking the keys to the car.

On a date in September, he threw a half-filled bottle at a female youth worker who was hit on the side of her face.

In August, the boy was found with €250 worth of cannabis.

On September 26, during another “fit of rage” at the unit, he “kicked the door of the office and broke it in half”. He then broke a chair and a wardrobe. The court also heard that after each incident he was compliant and made admissions to gardaí.

The boy, who has no prior criminal convictions, has been the subject of intervention from social services for the past six years. He meets the criteria for a place in a high-support unit but it is not clear when that will be made be available to him, said defence solicitor Gareth Noble.

The defence lawyer had said that the boy's risk-taking behaviour stemmed from anxiety and stress and he had problems controlling his anger.

Earlier, he also asked the court to note that the teen, who has pleaded guilty to drug possession, motor theft, assault and criminal damage charges, has shown remorse and enjoys school.

The boy has also said that he would prefer to be placed in a high-support facility rather than the mainstreams unit where he currently lives.

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