Wednesday 23 October 2019

13-year-old who allegedly bunked off school mooned at garda while on bail

Tom Tuite

A 13-YEAR-OLD boy, who “mooned” at gardai when he blatantly broke his bail terms, avoided being remanded in custody today as a result of the on-going shortage of juvenile detention spaces.

Judge John O'Connor noted today at the Dublin Children's Court that the boy had repeatedly broken court orders and had exposed himself and verbally abused a garda who had cautioned him.

Defence solicitor John Quinn said, “I understand there may be some difficulty”. “There is no bed?” asked the judge who was told “No” by gardai who had applied for the boy's bail to be rescinded.

“I am not going to make orders that cannot be enforced,” he said as the boy, who was accompanied to his hearing by his father, was let out on bail again.

The issue of lack of spaces for boys aged under 17 years has been recurring in Ireland's busiest juvenile court over recent weeks.

There was no space to hold the 13-year-old boy before the court today and Judge O'Connor went on to say that breaking bail terms is serious but “there is no point in making applications for breach of bail if I cannot comply with them”.

The young boy has been charged with theft of drinks on April 26 last when he was supposed to be in school. When that allegedly occurred he had been on bail in connection with an alleged motor theft.

The bail conditions stated he had to go to school and to obey an 8pm to 8am curfew, and stay out of an area in his locality for the duration of the proceedings.

Judge O'Connor was told yesterday (MON) that in recent weeks the boy went to school once and got suspended. He also broke his bail terms by twice going to an area from which he had been barred and by not abiding by his curfew. He acted “aggressively” to a garda when spotted out in public when he should have been in school.

Judge O'Connor was also told that during one instance the boy had been questioned in relation to a criminal damage incident. The boy pulled down his trousers  “exposing his backside, mooning” at a garda. As he did this he told a garda “I have made a f**king fool of you now, you f**king c**t”, as he ran off.

Social services have been asked to get involved with the boy and to carry out a family welfare conference.

Last week an official from the Irish Youth Justice Service, representing the Children and Youth Affair's Minister Frances Fitzgerald, told the Dublin Children's Court that efforts were being made to resolve staffing problems which have seen an eight-bed unit at a juvenile detention centre go unused.

On Friday last, Judge Ann Ryan had stressed that immediate action was needed and said  “get eight beds open please, now.”

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