Friday 15 November 2019

Teenage mother compared to ‘Oliver Twist’ by judge is spared fine and sentenced to probation

Tom Tuite

A TEENAGE mother, who was compared by a judge to Oliver Twist used by a Fagin-like family, has been sentenced to six months' probation for shoplifting and bringing her baby onto the streets begging.

Dublin Children's Court had heard that a welfare report on the now 18-year-old girl revealed that she had been used by her extended family to beg and steal.

The girl, then aged 17, had pleaded guilty last month to charges under Section 247 of the Children Act for having the child with her in public places to induce people to give her money.

She made no reply when charged with the begging offences, which happened on December 13, December 20 and July 27 last, in Dublin city-centre.

Judge John Coughlan noted yesterday (WED) that the girl had not been entitled to social welfare payments and he agreed to follow the recommendations of a probation report.

The teenager was spared a fine and was ordered to remain under the supervision of the Probation Service for the next six months. As a condition of the order, she must accept guidance from the service to help divert her from re-offending.

Dublin Children's Court has heard that the girl, is a mother, and her partner is in jail.

She lives with extended family members who have been regularly changing addresses, the juvenile court has heard. The teen has also admitted stealing €21 worth of groceries from a supermarket in north Dublin on a date last November.

The Probation Service had outlined in a previous report that they had a number of concerns for the girl.

“It is like something out of Oliver Twist, a Fagin directing matters,” Judge John O'Connor, who had dealt with the case at an earlier stage, had said at one point in the proceedings.

That judge had described her as being “as much a victim in this as anyone else” and had said one welfare report on her “reveals how she has been effectively used from the point of view of begging and stealing.”

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