Saturday 10 December 2016

Three year suspended sentence for teen who has 'no recollection' of setting jeep on fire

Sonya McLean

Published 23/11/2016 | 16:04

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A teenager who had no recollection of lighting a fire in a jeep has been given a three year suspended sentence.

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Jamie Morris Cox (19) of Monksfield Downs, Clondalkin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to arson of a Mercedes SUV at Rathfarnham Shopping Centre on October 18, 2015.

Garda Shane McGrath told Sinéad McMullan BL, prosecuting that staff in a nearby pub said Morris Cox and another man had been thrown out of the premises. The pair was then spotted smashing the windows of the vehicle and lighting a fire in it.

The bar staff were able to put out the fire and saw the men running off in the direction of a nearby housing estate. They were arrested there a short time later.

There was €5,000 worth of damage caused to the vehicle and the owner, who is a carpenter, was unable to work for two weeks while it was being repaired.

Morris Cox told gardaí he didn't remember the fire and had “a vague recollection” of being arrested.

He said he was “crazy drunk, off my head in a different world”. He identified himself on CCTV footage but said he had no idea why he did it. He agreed with gardaí there was “lots of evidence” against him.

Gda McGrath agreed with Ann Sheridan BL, defending that Morris Cox's accomplice, who has yet to be dealt with by the court, was 20 years his senior and a negative influence on him.

He accepted that it was clear from the CCTV footage that Morris Cox was “heavily intoxicated”.

Ms Sheridan said her client accepts full responsibility and has taken the matter very seriously.

He has since moved in with his grandfather, who has given him some structure in his life, and is due to sit his Leaving Cert next June. He had written a letter of apology to the court.

Judge Melanie Greally said it was “completely wanton destruction” of the vehicle that caused great inconvenience to the owner.

She acknowledged that Morris Cox admitted responsibility and expressed remorse.

The judge said a probation report indicated that Morris Cox was someone who was “very fragile” and added that intervention was essential to ensure that he doesn't go “down the road of crime and incarceration”.

She suspended a three year prison term in full after noting his grandfather's positive role on his life and his efforts to educate himself.

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