Tuesday 6 December 2016

Boy (17) who caused more than €10,000 damage at care home 'not fit to be let loose in society' - Judge

Sonya McLean and Fiona Ferguson

Published 10/12/2015 | 16:39

The boy was a new resident in the care home when he went into a rage after he was told another boy, who had been living there, had been placed elsewhere, the court heard.
The boy was a new resident in the care home when he went into a rage after he was told another boy, who had been living there, had been placed elsewhere, the court heard.

A teenager who caused more than €10,000 worth of damage at his care home has been given a two and a half year sentence.

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The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to causing criminal damage to the care home and to a car belonging to the home on February 27, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan heard evidence in the case last month and noted that the teenager had no previous convictions. He said he had concerns because a report from the Probation Service concluded that the boy was at a high risk of re-offending mainly due to his addictions and lack of parental support.

“At this stage he is not fit to be let loose in society,” Judge Nolan said, adding that the “alternatives available to the court are stark”.

He had ordered a report outlining how, in the event of him imposing a non-custodial sentence, the teenager would be supervised in an after-care programme once he reached the age of maturity.

Judge Nolan said he needed “some reassurance that he is not going to walk out of here with nowhere to go”.

Today the court heard the report had been “overtaken by events” as the boy was now serving ten months of detention imposed by the District Court in relation to an attempted robbery so the after care programme was on hold.

Judge Nolan imposed a two and a half year sentence of detention and suspended the final 18 months. He said any plans for the boy should be submitted to the Probation Service and carried out under their supervision.

Garda Alan Rooney told Cormac Quinn BL, prosecuting, the boy was a new resident in the care home when he went into a rage after he was told another boy, who had been living there, had been placed elsewhere.

He became further enraged when he was told the house car would not be made available to him that day and threatened staff that if they didn't bring him out he would “wreck the place”.

He then kicked out the glass and frame of a sitting room window before smashing all the windows of the car with a fire grate.

He was asked to calm down before he flung the same grate through the front door, smashing the glass panels. He took the wipers and wing mirrors off the car and let the handbrake up.

Gda Rooney said the total damage caused was €10,636 and the car was effectively written off because the damage would cost too much to repair.

The teenager was arrested and interviewed by gardaí. He told officers that he regretted “breaking up the place”.

He said he was worried the other teenager had been kicked out because he had been wrongly accused of drinking and taking tablets, when it had actually been him who had been doing that.

The house manager of the care home, where the teenager caused the damage, told the court there was a place available to him until he turned 18 years old next year.

He said there would be a place available for the teenager in an after-care programme once he reached the age of maturity.

The house manager agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that there had been a multi-agency approach in trying to assist the teenager to prevent him from re-offending.

He agreed that he had ADHD and a difficulty with authority that caused him to act out in a self destructive way. The witness accepted that the teenager had a difficult background, addiction problems and was very impressionable.

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