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Repeat teenage offender's drink problem started when he was seven, court told

A TEENAGE boy, whose drinking first caused concerns when he was aged seven, has been given a five-month sentence over an assault and a mugging in Dublin city-centre.

The 16-year-old, who about 40 criminal convictions, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to breach of the peace, being drunk to an extent he was a danger to himself and others and assaulting a man at Upper O'Connell Street, on October 6 last.

He also admitted robbery of another male at the Liffey board-walk, on September 9 last. Both incidents happened after he had been released to appeal a six-month sentence handed down in August for a burglary. He later withdrew that appeal.

The robbery victim suffered a twisted ankle, a chipped tooth, a cut to his jaw as well as lacerations over and under one of his eyes.

The court heard that the boy had been drinking with two older men one of whom confronted the victim.

The teenager, who has often been banned from going to Dublin city-centre, then joined in and punched the man as one of his accomplices stole a phone from him.

During an attack on O'Connell Street a few weeks later, the boy, who was intoxicated at the time, struck another man in the face.

His prior criminal convictions include assault causing harm, robbery, trespassing, burglary and having a knife as a weapon and he has been before the Children's Court on several occasions throughout his teenage years.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble told Judge Ann Ryan that the boy, who had been out of school, now plans to use his time in custody to prepare for the Junior Certificate.

He said that all of the boy's charges have been drink fuelled. Background welfare reports on the teenager showed that concerns were first raised over his misuse of alcohol several years ago. “When he was aged seven a bottle of vodka was found in his school-bag”, the defence lawyer said.

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Judge Ryan imposed a five-month sentence on the boy.

During his earlier cases, the court had heard there had been significant involvement between the HSE and the teen's family who had problems controlling him.

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