Monday 20 January 2020

Repeat teen offender with 66 criminal convictions caught in hot-wired car despite earlier bans

Tom Tuite

A 17-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy with mental health problems and 66 criminal convictions is awaiting sentence after a court heard that he was caught in a hot-wired car despite being banned from driving.

Judge John O'Connor ordered that the teenager, who is already serving a term for earlier crimes, is to be sentenced on June 21 next when a probation report is to be furnished to the Dublin Children's Court.

Garda Neil McGrath told Judge O'Connor today that on July 20 last year in Lucan, Dublin, the teenager was spotted in the driver's seat of a '99 reg car. He exited and “attempted to run, he had hot-wired the car and the engine was running”.

The repeat offender had 66 criminal convictions which Gda McGrath broke down into categories stating that 25 of them the were for various offences under the Road Traffic Act, including dangerous driving and several counts of driving without insurance.

There were seven for motor theft, one for interfering with a vehicle, seven for theft, six for criminal damage, six for trespassing offences, two for assault, six under the Public Order Act, one for possessing a weapon, and one for violent behaviour in a Garda station.

He was given a 13-month sentence “on a large number of offences” earlier this year and is expected to be released from custody in January 2014.

The court heard that last year he had been disqualified from driving twice, for periods of ten and six years and in 2011 he was give a six-year road ban.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble told Judge O'Connor that “from a very early age he has been in and out of a number of institutions” as a result of both criminal justice and child welfare court proceedings.

At one point the High Court ordered that he was to be detained in high support facility “for his care needs”.

The teenager pleaded guilty today to offences of driving without a licence, or insurance and while the subject of a road ban.

The lawyer said the youth, who was accompanied to his hearing by his father, presented with “huge vulnerabilities” and had mental health difficulties – while in custody he has been placed on “protection” and the subject of a number of “psychological interventions”.

The defence also asked the court to note that the boy is now “doing his best” in custody where he goes to classes to prepare him for the Junior Certificate to “better himself”.

The boy's solicitor asked the judge to note the teen's guilty plea and not to add to his time in custody.

Judge O'Connor said the mitigating factors would be taken into consideration but he also noted the number of prior convictions. He deferred sentencing for the Probation Service to carry out an assessment and prepare a report on the teenager.

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