Sunday 25 February 2018

Teen to face trial after being accused of biting care worker at children's home

Dublin Central Criminal Court
Dublin Central Criminal Court

Tom Tuite

A youth is to face trial in the Circuit Court in Dublin accused of repeatedly biting a care worker at a children's home.

The boy (17) is charged with assault causing harm to a male staff member, resisting arrest and criminal damage to fixtures and fittings at a care home in Dublin.

The DPP had recommended that the teen should be tried in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court which has tougher sentencing powers.

A preliminary hearing was held  to decide  whether the case would remain in the juvenile court or go forward to the higher court.

In an outline of the evidence Garda Andrew Sheerin of Ballyfermot station told Judge John O'Connor at the Dublin Children's Court that there had been an incident in the care facility and the teenager had to be restrained by staff. The boy bit one of the care workers four times.

It is alleged that on the same date he caused €1,100 worth of damage to a mirror, a sink, a window and table at his care home.

Gda Sheerin said that when he got to the home he went to the boy's room. The teen was lying on his bed and became aggressive to Gda Sheerin and made attempts to bite him, the court was also told.

The defence made submissions under section 75 of the Children Act for the case to stay in the Children's Court. It can accept jurisdiction in serious cases following submissions in relation to age and level of maturity as well as other relevant factors.

Defence barrister Damian McKeone asked Judge O'Connor to note that the boy has been in full care since he was aged four. The teenager was accompanied the hearing by his mother and youth workers.

At times he has been under supervision of his parents but has been moved around in care arrangements on numerous occasions, Judge O'Connor heard.

Mr McKeone said the teenager has been found to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and oppositional defiant disorder. The teenager has also been suffering from “reactive detachment disorder” as a result of separation issues, counsel said.

He also has substance abuse problems and has attended addiction counselling and he accepted he had an anger management problem.

Judge O'Connor said the youth was almost 18 and it was a serious case. He accepted that reactive detachment issues were serious but said they cannot be used as an excuse for carrying out a serious assault.

He refused jurisdiction and the remanded the youth on bail to appear again in September when it is expected that he will be served with a book of evidence and sent forward for trial.

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