Wednesday 22 November 2017

Probation for teenage prowler who scared woman from her home

Tom Tuite

A 15-YEAR-OLD boy, who tried to break-into a young woman's home and left her too afraid to continue living there, has been sentenced to two years' supervised probation

The boy had spent past four weeks in custody on remand in a juvenile detention centre last year where psychiatric, psychological, educational assessments of him were carried out.

Today at the Dublin Children's Court, Judge Ann Ryan noted that the teenager had not come to further garda attention in the past month, since he got bail.

She also said a probation report on the teenager was excellent although there were concerns that he had expressed a view that he did not want to change his ways.

Assessments had found that the teenager, who has educational issues, “had little insight into his behaviour”. Social services have been involved with him but his mother in court today expressed concerns that they have not been in contact in recent times.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble said that the teenager had previously been “couch surfing” and was staying in the homes of friends. “His family would go days with no contact from him,” the defence lawyer said.

The teenager had also been involved in substance abuse, the court heard, but efforts are being made to send him to counselling. He is also due to return to the education system, the judge was also told.

Judge Ryan spared the teenager a custodial sentence but held that he must follow the directions of his probation officer and she recommended that he engage in restorative justice activities to learn how his offending affected others.

She also said he must not associate with anti-social youths and attend school. The teenager could be brought back to court and detained if he does not stick to the terms of the probation order.

He had pleaded guilty earlier to a break-in at the woman's former home, on Eugene Street in Dublin 8 on July 22 last.

Dublin's Children's Court has already heard that the boy “jumped over a back wall and broke into a garden shed, he said he was looking for tools so he could break into the house”.

The young boy, who comes from north Dublin, then “broke the back door but did not gain entry”.

The occupier, who is in her twenties, “was very distressed and since moved out”.

The teenager also admitted stealing an iPhone worth €600 at Parnell Street on November 7 last. He also pleaded guilty to a connected charge for possessing a screwdriver as a weapon, which he had on him when he was arrested at Hill Street, in Dublin city-centre.

The boy has also entered a guilty to plea to causing €500 worth of damages to a window during an incident a train station in north Dublin last February and he also admitted public order offences.

The teenager, who thanked the judge as the case concluded, had also been involved in another iPhone theft on October 1 last, in Dublin city-centre.

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