Saturday 19 January 2019

Teen described by judge as 'risk to public and his mother' skips court after dodging custody

Oberstown Children's Detention Centre
Oberstown Children's Detention Centre

Tom Tuite

A TEENAGER described by a judge as “a risk to the public at large” skipped court today after he dodged custody earlier in the week when the State’s main juvenile detention centre was full.

The 16-year-old boy had appeared before the Dublin Children’s Court on Wednesday charged over vicious drug fuelled raids at two corner shops in which staff members were attacked and beaten with a pole and a glass bottle.

The teen, who had taken a cocktail of drink and drugs, was arrested on Monday evening after his terrified mother contacted gardai who were waiting at his house when he arrived back after he allegedly tried to rob the second shop.

Following objections to bail at a hearing on Wednesday, Judge John O’Connor said the teenager was "a risk to himself, a risk to his mother and a risk to the public at large". Custody was warranted, however, bail with a curfew condition had to be granted instead after the judge heard there were no places available in Oberstown detention centre.

The teen, who promised his mother he would go straight home with her, was ordered to appear again the next day. His mother arrived at court on Thursday for a resumption of the proceedings but the teenager did not show up.

The court heard that gardai checked the teen’s home at 7pm on Wednesday and he was there but when they called back two hours later he was gone. Judge O’Connor issued a bench warrant for the teen’s arrest.

He had said on Wednesday that having heard the objections to bail and viewed CCTV footage there was enough evidence to warrant a refusal of bail. Judge O’Connor said the teenage boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was a complete threat to the public, a threat to himself and his mother could not cope.

He also said that Tusla social workers needed to reopen a file on the boy which they had closed. One of the shop owners told gardai he was closing early for the night on Wednesday after learning that the teen would be getting released, the court had heard.

The teen is charged with theft, robbery, attempted robbery and assault causing harm, in connection with three incidents which happened over a four-hour period on Monday in Dublin.

Gardai objected to bail citing the seriousness of the incidents.

Garda Kevin Cassidy told the court that at 5.20pm two youths entered a shop at Mercer Street. CCTV evidence showed the pair with their faces covered. The garda said it was a vicious incident and the teen had a pole and repeatedly used it beat the shop worker and continued striking him with it even after €150 from the till was handed over.

It was alleged the teen went home and changed clothes and left again, however his mother then alerted the gardai who went to the house. They saw the clothes which matched the description they had from the raid at the shop on Mercer Street.

It was alleged at 6.55pm the masked teen entered a shop at Bride Street and during an attempted robbery he repeatedly beat an employee with a glass bottle. CCTV evidence showed the man received at least 10 blows with the bottle within a few seconds.

The court heard that the boy fled but when he arrived home Garda Cassidy was still there and he was arrested. It was alleged that the teenager was involved in bag snatch at St Stephen’s Green at about 3pm on Monday.

Judge John O’Connor heard that the boy who broke down in court on Wednesday had a chaotic lifestyle. It was alleged he admitted to gardai he had used cocaine, cannabis and Xanax as well a large volume of alcohol on a daily basis. His mother also raised concerns about his violence in the home.

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