Sunday 18 March 2018

Scam schoolboys sentenced to six months of household chores and gardening

TWO 14-year-old boys, who bullied elderly residents at a north Dublin suburb into donating money to a bogus charity, have been sentenced to six months of household chores and gardening.

The schoolboys had been arrested after their scam was reported to gardai and they had pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court in May to running an unauthorised charity collection, on March 11 last, in Drumcondra.

Garda Claire Delaney and Garda Patrick Whelan told Judge Ann Ryan that the pair had collected €90 by going door to door with a home-made charity sponsorship card. “When the residents refused to sponsor the defendant, they became verbally abusive,” Judge Ryan was told.

The judge also heard that they were threatening and used “intimidation and aggressiveness towards elderly people”; the residents they approached were not keen to come to court and had been frightened by the pair.

The two schoolboys had no prior criminal convictions but had previously been given juvenile cautions by gardai for similar offences.

Earlier, Judge Ryan had asked for a probation report on the pair to be prepared. The court had opted for a family welfare conference plan where the Probation Service would agree with the boys and their parents for them to carry out a range of restorative justice activities which must be done over a six-month period.

Judge Ryan heard today that in working with the Probation Service to see if they were suitable for this alternative penalty, one of the boys was made go to confession by his mother.

The boys, who were accompanied to their hearing by parents, were agreeable to doing the tasks set down in an action plan furnished to the court.

Earlier, the court had imposed a bail condition to refrain them from going to the Drumcondra and Whitehall areas. Defence solicitor Gareth Noble said today that this has had the desired effect and there has been no more reports of the boys re-offending since the incident.

He also said one had gone to confession; both had written a “fulsome letter of apology” and one had also donated €20 to the Irish Cancer Society.

Judge Ryan noted that they were found to be suitable to take part in the crime diversion programme and were willing to carry out tasks set down in the probation report furnished to the court. She also accepted that they were sorry for what they did.

The judge said that they would be busy over the next six months and the action plan would involve them cutting grass for neighbours and “lots of chores” including housework for their own parents.

Their charges will be struck out – sparring them criminal records – if they fully abide by the terms of the plan and do not come to further Garda attention. The case was adjourned until January when the court will learn whether or not they have stuck to the deal.

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