Monday 19 February 2018

Another drugs arrest for €40,000 cannabis rap boy

Tom Tuite

A THEN 14-year-old boy, who was caught with almost €40,000 worth of cannabis in his schoolbag, has been arrested again for transporting drugs into a youth detention centre.

The boy, now aged 15, has pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis, and has claimed he had to store the drugs to pay off a debt.

His case at the Dublin Children's Court, which has led to interventions from the HSE and the Probation and Welfare Service, resumed today.

Judge Ann Ryan was told that welfare agencies are to hold another meeting in relation to the boy in September. She also heard that the boy has continued to come to garda attention with one officer telling the court the teen had recently been arrested for “allegedly transporting drugs into St Patrick's Institution.”

However, he has not yet been charged with that offence, and Judge Ryan was also told that there were continued concerns over the company the boy has been keeping.

She adjourned sentencing until a date in September saying that the welfare meeting will have taken place by then “to put a plan in place that would be good for you”.

The teenager, who was accompanied to his case by relatives and a family support worker, was also barred from areas in his locality and he agreed he had to work with agencies trying to help him.

He had been caught with the stash of cannabis on a date in June last year.

Gardai believed he was minding the drugs for another person.

But for his age he would have been tried in the Circuit Court where the penalties are greater.

Garda Michael Noone had said that during a search of the teenager's bedroom, “a school bag containing cannabis resin with a street value of €39,500 was found”.

The boy, who has admitted possessing the cannabis for the purpose of sale or supply, was not present for the seizure but later turned up at his local garda station, with members of his family, “and he stated that the drugs were his”.

The court has heard that the boy has no previous convictions and did not profit from his involvement, and Gardai accepted that the teen was “holding it for someone else”.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble had said earlier that the teenager “was engaged in this activity to cover a particular debt he had; they had told him to hold on to this package to take care of the debt.

“He felt he could not turn to his family members and he took the decision to do what he was told.”

At the time of the drug seizure the boy had been unable to “break free” from what were referred to in court as “external influences”. His family first became aware when “gardai came to the door”.

At an earlier stage in the case, the teenager had been held in custody on remand for almost four weeks and psychological assessments found he had a “multitude of needs”.

He has also had to cope with a bereavement in his family, the court has heard.

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