Thursday 27 April 2017

Troubled teen pleads to be jailed so he can complete his Leaving Cert

Tom Tuite

A 16-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy, who wanted to be locked up so he could do the Leaving Certificate, had his wish granted today when he was detained by a judge for 16 months.

The teenager, who had previously asked to be held in custody, had been given a suspended six-month sentence at the Dublin Children's Court last November on a charge of handling a stolen mobile phone.

Judge Aingeal Ni Chonduin heard at the city's juvenile court today that he had continued to commit petty thefts, a breach of the peace and had been caught carrying an bolt cutters for use in a theft.

In the early hours of December 24 last, during a breach of the peace, he verbally abused a garda who was assisting colleagues on a patrol in north Dublin. He told the officer “to f*** off and get the f*** away from him, members of the public were present and he was arrested,” Gda Mark Higgins told the court.

On November 27 last, four days after he got the suspended sentence, he was spotted in Dublin city centre “checking out” bicycle stands. When searched he had bolt cutters in his back pack.

Judge Ni Chonduin heard that on January 3 last, he stole a bottle of aftershave from a city centre shop.

The boy also pleaded guilty today to two earlier offences: on October 24 last, he stole deodorant spray cans from a shop and four days before that he stole an bottle of the Jagermeister beverage.

The teen has five criminal convictions for theft, criminal damage and public order offences and was described by Judge Ni Chonduin today as “16 going on 26”.

Defence solicitor Brendan Aherne told Judge Ni Chonduin that the boy wanted his case to be finalised. “He intends to do the Leaving Certificate and is looking to have a sentence imposed to enable him to do that,” the lawyer said.

Judge Ni Chonduin, who was furnished with a welfare report on the boy, said he needed a “structured environment”.

The teenager on being told that the suspended six-month sentence was being activated spoke up to tell the court he needed a longer period in custody. “I will not be able to do my Leaving Cert, it is a two-year course”.

Judge Ni Chonduin then imposed a consecutive 10-month term for his other offences meaning he will be detained for a year and four months. “I hope you do well,” she told the boy, who then hugged his mother, before he left the courtroom.

His mother had said in court that she planned to move house and leave the city in a bid to prevent her children from getting into more trouble.

Her other teenage son, who faces public order charges, is in custody on remand. Social services have been involved and have been trying to help that boy get appropriate accommodation and therapeutic interventions he needs.

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