independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

‘You have more time for the scum on the street than your family who love you’

The youth appeared before Dublin Children’s Court today
The youth appeared before Dublin Children’s Court today

A father told a judge that he “has killed himself” trying to keep his teen son on the “straight and narrow”.

The youth appeared before Dublin Children’s Court today charged with taking part on a vicious gang attack on a jogger.

However, the youth’s father gave his son a dressing-down in court, telling him “you have more time for the scum on the street than your family who love you.”

The court heard the jogger was set on because he kicked an angry dog.

The teenager has pleaded guilty at the Children's Court to assault causing harm to the man who was left traumatised and scarred from the attack which occurred on January 21 last, in north Dublin.

The teenager showed no remorse and his father told Judge John O'Connor that he was fed up helping his son whom he said wants to go to prison.

The youth sat silently as his father, seething with rage, addressed the court and told Judge O'Connor “I killed myself trying to get him on the straight and narrow.”

He said his son told him “I am going to Wheatfield”, referring to a prison in Dublin, and the dad added “that is not normal behaviour”.

The father also explained that he had to pay off local drug dealers for his son who is also suspected taking part in a serious burglary earlier this week.

He said the youth has been causing problems for the past three or four years and he looked straight at his son before telling him, “it feels like you are are spitting on my face”. The father also told his son “you have more time for the scum on the street than your family who love you.”

Judge O'Connor adjourned sentencing the youth until next month.

Earlier a pre-sentence report had shown that he had no remorse or empathy for his crime, was at a high risk of re-offending and badly needed to be involved in pro-social activities.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble has also told the court of the efforts the boy's father had made to help his son.

Pending sentencing, the youth must also continue to work with the Probation Service to address his offending, go to counselling for his drug abuse problem, engage with a training course and a youth mentoring service.

The boy, who is on bail, has also admitted burglary, possessing a weapon and a stolen nat-nav device during an incident in December 2012 during which he confronted residents, including an off-duty garda, while armed with a baseball bat.

He had broken into a car park and damaged vehicles before locals managed to restrain him until gardai arrived.

Earlier the judge said the teenager, is at “last chance saloon” and if he does not begin to co-operate with the Probation Service he would be facing six-month term in detention.

Garda Sergeant Keith Halley had told Judge O'Connor that the jogger, a man who is in his 30s, had been out running when a dog started biting at his heels. He had a previous bad experience with the dog and gave it a kick at which three youths including the boy started shouting at him.

The dog belonged to another member of the group, Judge O'Connor has heard.

They caught up with the jogger who received “a number of blows to the face”. “He attempted to defend himself as best he could and subsequently ran away,” Gda Sgt Halley said.

He rang his wife who drove to the scene and then brought him to hospital; his six-year-old son also saw the facial injuries he sustained,the court heard.

The man has made a recovery from his physical injuries but was left traumatised and has a visible scar on his face, the juvenile court has heard.

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