Friday 20 October 2017

Boy (15) pleads not guilty to swallowing bag of crack cocaine

Tom Tuite

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy is to face trial after he pleaded not guilty to hampering a Garda drug search by swallowing a bag of crack cocaine.

The youngster is accused of obstructing a garda during the course of a drug seizure on May 28 last in north Dublin.

The charge also says that he allegedly impeded the search by “swallowing a controlled substance”.

Garda Niamh Hobbs has told Judge John O'Connor at the Dublin Children's Court that the boy, who was accompanied to his hearing by his mother, “made no reply” when he was charged.

She told Judge O'Connor that the drug was crack cocaine, “one bag worth €25.”

Defence solicitor John Quinn said the boy was pleading not guilty and Judge John O'Connor ordered that the boy's trial will take place in September in the Children's Court.

The teen, who has 12 prior criminal convictions for theft, criminal damage and motoring offences, had admitted a Public Order Act offence for failing to comply with a direction to move on following an incident where he was among a group of youths who were shouting verbal abuse at a female garda in May.

The court heard that after the garda cautioned him to leave the vicinity he returned and was arrested. However, he became co-operative and apologised.

Judge O'Connor noted that the boy, who has already served two detention sentences in the past two years, would not go to meetings with the Probation Service which had been attempting to help him address his offending

Judge O'Connor said that gave the court limited options in how it could deal with the case.

Mr Quinn said that the boy found it difficult to “open up to a probation officer” and even if the case were put back for another few weeks he did not think there would be any change.

Garda Alan Carbery, the boy's case manager, spoke to the youngster in court and told him: “If you do not go to the Probation Service, you are going to receive a custodial sentence, you are going to be locked up”.

After a five-minute break in the proceedings to give the boy a chance to reconsider, he refused to change his mind and his solicitor said “unfortunately we are in the same position”.

Mr Quinn also asked the judge to note that the boy has stopped coming to garda attention in recent weeks.

Judge O'Connor said that he took into consideration the youngster's age and vulnerability but said his lack of co-operation will lead to detention and there was no justification in imposing a peace bond.

For the public order offence he gave him a two-month sentence which was suspended on condition that no more crimes are committed in the next six months by the teen, who showed no emotion and sat silently biting his nails as the order was made.

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