Friday 15 December 2017

Judge describes teenage burglar's lack of remorse as 'startling'

Tom Tuite

THE lack of remorse shown by a 14-year-old boy, who skipped court to avoid saying sorry for his role in a terrifying burglary, was described by a judge today as “pretty startling”.

Last month, the teenager was told by a Judge John O'Connor at the Dublin Children's Court that he risked being detained unless he showed remorse for his crime. After being given three weeks to reconsider the teen, who is on bail and living in a children's home, decided that he would not to come to court to face the judge yesterday (WED).

 

In court on February 27 last, he would not say sorry for his part in a burglary, at woman's home in south inner city Dublin on a date last July. When asked if he was sorry or would write a letter of apology, the boy had replied “No”.

 

The teen had also said “I am not apologising....I am not writing a letter”. He was told that he could be let off if he said sorry but had shook his head before saying: “I am not apologising, I done it, I am not sorry for it.”

 

Even after being told he could be detained, the boy had insisted, “I am not apologising”.

 

Judge John O'Connor had said the teenager was trying to use his refusal to apologise for his crime as a “badge of honour” and adjourned sentencing until today to give him time to reconsider.

 

When the case was called today, the boy's parents were present but defence solicitor Gareth Noble said the teen would not come to court.

 

He is residing in a children's home from which he has absconded on 19 occasions in recent months.

 

The boy has complex welfare issues and has continued, since his last court appearance, to engage in “risk taking behaviour”, the judge was told. Social workers believe they “cannot maintain him safely in his current environment,” the defence lawyer said today.

Judge O'Connor said a welfare report showing the boy, who has no prior criminal convictions, had little insight into how his offending affected others was “very worrying”. The judge also said he had huge concerns about the safety of others and “the lack of insight in relation to this is pretty startling notwithstanding his age, there is no acceptance that what he is doing his causing huge problems”.

 

He thanked the boy's parents for attending and said their continued support of their son was important. The case was adjourned until May pending the efforts of social services to help the boy.

 

Giving evidence of the boy's crime, Garda William Godfrey had said he took a report on intruders at the woman's home. They had gone to her shed, tried to break in through her garage before getting onto the roof “to gain access through a skylight”.

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