Tuesday 21 November 2017

Teenager who crashed stolen car into river after burglary given year's detention

The teenager, who cannot be identified as he is a minor, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary, dangerous driving and criminal damage to a bridge on April 13, 2016. (Stock picture)
The teenager, who cannot be identified as he is a minor, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary, dangerous driving and criminal damage to a bridge on April 13, 2016. (Stock picture)

Fiona Ferguson

A 17-year-old who crashed a stolen car into the river Liffey at Celbridge while being chased by gardai from a burglary scene has been given one year’s detention.

The court heard the teenager was arrested after being taken from the water but later released on bail because there was no suitable place for him to stay. Within 48 hours he had assaulted a man in his eighties, knocking him to the ground, as he stole the man's car.

The teenager, who cannot be identified as he is a minor, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary, dangerous driving and criminal damage to a bridge on April 13, 2016.

He further pleaded guilty to unlawful use of a car, assault and driving without a licence or insurance on April 15, 2016. The teen has 11 previous convictions including public order offences, criminal damage, assault and possession of stolen property.

Judge Pauline Codd noted that a probation report before the court outlined that although the accused had initially indicated he was willing to engage with the probation services he later said he had no interest in doing so and his only motivation was a possible reduction in the sentence.

The accused boy told his defence counsel, Anne Marie Lawlor BL, that he was in a “real bad humour” when he met the probation officer who prepared the report.

He said he had been on 23 hour lock up for the two days prior to the meeting and was not in the humour for answering questions. He said he was now drug free and was willing to go to a drug counsellor or give urines. “Whatever it takes,” he told the judge.

He said when he was released he was going to stay clean, get back to family life and try to get a job.

He told Judge Codd he would fully co-operate and was willing to address his anger issues.

Ms Lawlor told the court the accused had ADHD and needed intervention and assistance going forward in his life. She said he was now completely drug free and willing to do whatever was necessary in order to progress his rehabilitation and re-engage with society in a positive way.

She said he was remorseful for what had happened to the elderly man

Judge Codd noted that under section 96 of the Children Act 2001 any penalty imposed on a child should take the least restrictive form that was appropriate in the circumstances and detention should be a last resort.

She said in the first offence it was lucky that neither himself nor a member of the public was seriously injured. She said in the second offence he had preyed on an easy target in the elderly man but noted his guilty plea and expressions of remorse.

She imposed a three year sentence of detention but suspended the final two years.

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