Wednesday 13 December 2017

Boy (14) used by uncle to transport stolen goods avoids criminal record

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

Tom Tuite

A 14-year-old Dublin boy, who was used by his uncle to transport stolen goods, has signed up to a crime diversion plan to help him avoid getting a conviction and a possible sentence.

The schoolboy is before the Dublin Children’s Court charged with possessing stolen property, which was taken during a burglary, in a case which has been described by Judge John O’Connor as “a new low”.

The Probation Service found the boy was suitable for inclusion in a crime diversion plan which could leave him spared a sentence and a criminal conviction. Today in court the boy signed a contract to complete an action plan of restorative justice activities over the coming months.

The court heard that one of the conditions states the boy must do his school exams however the other tasks he has to complete were not read out during the hearing.

The teen, who was accompanied to court by his mother, was remanded on continuing bail to appear again in July for an update on his progress. The boy spoke once during the hearing to confirm he understood.

“This is really important if you want to avoid a criminal record,” the judge warned him.

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, who has no prior criminal convictions, was arrested for handling the goods.

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

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

Judge O’Connor had remarked at an earlier stage in the proceedings, “We have hit a new low where criminals are using a child this age for such a crime”.

The boy’s distressed had then told the court, “I do apologise, he has never been in trouble”.

She had 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”.

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

Judge O’Connor has said to use a child like this was appalling. In relation to the crime diversion plan, he has stressed that this required participation of the mother and “we cannot have a child like this being used”.

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