Saturday 24 February 2018

'A new low' says Judge after hearing uncle got 14-year-old nephew to transport burglary loot

The Children's Court, Smithfield
The Children's Court, Smithfield

Tom Tuite

A 14-year-old boy, who was used by his nephew to transport a stash of stolen goods taken during a house burglary in Dublin, has been given a chance to avoid a criminal conviction.

The schoolboy is before the Dublin Children’s Court charged with possessing stolen property in a case described by Judge John O’Connor as “a new low”.

Judge O’Connor noted that the Probation Service found the boy suitable for inclusion in a crime diversion plan which could leave him without a criminal conviction.

The case was adjourned for four weeks when the boy will be expected to sign up to an action plan of restorative justice activities to be done over a number of months.

The teen, who was accompanied to court by his mother, was remanded on continuing bail.

The teenager, a first-time offender, pleaded guilty to the offence.

Garda Richard Pender has told the court that on the afternoon of June 30 last year he observed the boy’s uncle – a known criminal – cycling with a bag on his back. The garda drove to the man’s home in south Dublin in the belief that he was in possession of stolen property.

Gda Pender parked and watched the house and witnessed the man hand the bag to the boy who then cycled away. He was arrested nearby and the bag was found to contain a Go-pro camera, an I-phone 5, an I-phone 4, a Samsung tablet, a Lorus watch and an LG Nexus phone.

The property had been taken during the course of a burglary in Ranelagh, Dublin, earlier that day.

The teen was arrested for handling the goods.

The garda confirmed the uncle “was very well known to the courts”.

The defence solicitor told the court the teen did not look in the bag and his uncle had asked him to cycle with it to another location.

On hearing this Judge O’Connor remarked, “We have hit a new low where criminals are using a child this age for such a crime”.

The boy’s distressed mother had told the court, “I do apologise, he has never been in trouble”. Her voice was breaking as she told the court how nervous she was and how much she did not like to see her son in court.

She said the boy was “very stressed” and she was sorry that her son had “made the biggest mistake in doing what he did in carrying that bag”.

“I can’t even look at him sitting there,” the distraught mother had said.

Judge O’Connor said he was worried about the boy being used. The mother said she no longer speaks to her brother, the man who gave her son the bag of stolen property.

Judge O’Connor said to use a child like this was appalling and the mother has agreed saying it was horrendous adding, “I don’t want to see him going to prison”.

The judge assured her that would not happen. In relation to the crime diversion plan, he stressed that this required participation of the mother and “we cannot have a child like this being used”.

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