Sunday 17 December 2017

I was victim of disturbing home break-in, judge tells teen burglar

Brendan Grehan

A DISTRICT Court judge has revealed to a teenage burglar that he was himself the victim of a break-in.

Judge Anthony Halpin, pictured, told Tallaght Court that he had been burgled in his home last week and said he was disturbed by the incident, adding that he did not know what he would have done had he been at his home when the burglary occurred.

Dealing with a 17-year-old who had pleaded guilty to burglary, Judge Halpin told the court: "Last week I had substantial property taken in a burglary. I found it very, very disturbing. I am really thankful that I wasn't there in person when it happened. I don't know what I would have done."

The teenager, with an address in Tallaght, pleaded guilty to burglary at a house in Tallaght on December 10, 2012.

He was accompanied in court by his parents.

Sergeant Carmel Henry told the court gardai responded to a call about a burglary at a house just after 7pm. Arriving at the scene, they searched the area and found the teenager and another man, hiding in hedging.

The two males fled but were later arrested.

Sgt Henry said the teenager was found in possession of property from the house including a Kindle, a pair of binoculars and a large amount of coins.

She said the teenager had no previous convictions.

The teenager's solicitor said her client had been taking tablets at the time of the offence and had been under the influence of an older man.

She said the teenager had not been in trouble since and had stopped hanging around with the older man.

Judge Halpin said: "Everyone deserves a second chance."

He remanded the teenager on continuing bail to a date in May for a presentence report.

Judge Halpin's revelation comes as the country is experiencing a reduction in burglaries as a result of a garda crackdown.

Earlier this week Justice Minister Alan Shatter praised Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan for the results of Operation Fiacla, the national strategy to tackle spiralling burglary rates.

Up until the end of last week, some 4,226 suspected burglars were arrested nationwide, with some 2,327 charged.

There has been a drop of over 10pc in burglaries in the greater Dublin area since the crackdown began almost a year ago.

Figures show that the number of burglaries in the capital have dropped from 9,572 to 8,495 in a year.

Irish Independent

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