Sunday 17 December 2017

Schoolboy found guilty of burgling home of 88-year-old man

Tom Tuite

A JUDGE has told a youth found guilty of a burglary at the home of an 88-year-old man that having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder "is not a licence to commit crime".

The 16-year-old schoolboy had denied burglary and criminal damage to a window at the pensioner's home in Howth, north Dublin, on October 12 last and claimed his medication “messes with my memory”.

Garda Sergeant Paul Slattery told Dublin Children's Court he had been off-duty and driving past the elderly man's house when he spotted two youths climbing out a window.

He called Howth Garda station and followed the two youths who were with two others until two more gardai arrived and arrested the pair.

The elderly man, who was not at home at the time of the break-in, came to court to give evidence. The pensioner, who walked with the aid of a walking frame, told the court that “a few bits” were taken from his home and he has still not got his window repaired.

The judge was later told that the stolen goods which were discarded near the scene included picture frames and documents.

In evidence, the teenager claimed he, his older brother and two others had been walking in the area. His brother left them briefly to go to the toilet and shortly after his return the gardai arrived.

He denied being involved in the burglary but in cross-examination it was put to him that when gardai questioned him he had said he had been in a park..

In court he claimed his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder medication affected his memory.

Judge Ryan did not accept his evidence and said that two defence witnesses called were not credible.

She was told the boy, who was accompanied to his hearing by his mother, is in school and has no prior criminal convictions.

Judge Ryan said he was bright but “the fact that you have ADHD is not a licence to commit crime”.

The boy was remanded on bail to appear again in September for a pre-sentence probation report to be prepared.

He was told the court would explore a restorative justice sanction which the judge explained means, “If you do something wrong you must give something back.” This would also include paying for the damage to the elderly man's window, she said.

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