Monday 19 March 2018

Teen spared jail time after helping break prisoner out of custody

Tom Tuite

A SECOND teenage boy has been spared a custodial sentence for helping to break a prisoner out of custody during an escape in Dublin which saw a garda knocked unconscious.

The 17-year-old boy had been charged at the Dublin Children's Court under Section Six of the Criminal Law Act 1976.

The youth, then aged 15, has been accused of taking part in arrangements for the purpose of enabling another person to escape from custody, at the Ballyfermot Road, in west Dublin, on March 6 last year, the Dublin Children's Court heard.

Last month he entered a plea of guilty and his case was finalised today when Judge John O'Connor sentenced him to 12 months' probation.

In a summary of the prosecution evidence, Detective Garda Ronan Coffey had told Judge John O'Connor that “a prisoner having been remanded in custody by Longford District Court was being transferred to Cloverhill Prison.”

The garda car transporting the man had stopped at traffic lights at the Ballyfermot Road when it was approached by five people. The car door was opened allowing the prisoner to escape and the court heard that a garda who tried to stop him was attacked by a number of people.

During the attack he “lost consciousness for 20 seconds and the prisoner made good his escape”.

A conviction for this offence in the juvenile court can led to a possible term of up to 12 months.

The court heard that the teenager opened a door on the car carrying the prisoner but he did not take part in the attack on the garda.

Defence counsel Aoife McNickle asked the court to note that the boy was aged 15 at the time of the offence and then had no prior criminal convictions.

The defence lawyer told the court that the boy's parents had addiction problems and he no longer lives with them. The teenager, who was accompanied to his hearing a woman who is now acting as his carer, is attending to a youth diversion project, is also taking part in and educational course and does not have drink or drug problems, the court had been told.

Today Judge O'Connor, who was furnished with a probation report on the boy, said it was a serious offence but the boy's role was opportunistic and not premeditated.

The judge noted that the teen had engaged positively with the Probation Service, was aged 15 at the time of the offence and that he has not come to further garda attention.

He also said the teenager had difficult family and personal circumstances but is more mature now. He told the teenager that for the next 12 months he must follow the directions of his probation officer to divert him from re-offending.

Probation violation could lead to a custodial sentence being imposed and the teenager said “thanks judge” after being told that he was getting a chance.

Another youth was also sentenced to probation last month for helping the prisoner escape.

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