Saturday 16 December 2017

Teenager who refused to apologise for burglary is spared jail

Tom Tuite

A 14-YEAR-OLD boy, who steadfastly refused to apologise for his role in a terrifying burglary at a woman's home, has been spared a custodial sentence.

The Dublin Children's Court heard that the teenager had spent a period in custody on remand in a detention centre where psychological and educational assessments of him were to be carried out.


Judge John O'Connor spared the boy a custodial sentence and bound him to the peace to be of good behaviour for six months. If the youngster breaks that condition he can be brought to the court which could then result in a tougher sentence.


It is hoped that youth workers, at his care accommodation, will help him see how his actions has affects others, the court heard.


Giving evidence of the boy's crime, Garda William Godfrey said he took a report of intruders at the woman's home in south inner city Dublin on a date last July. They had gone to her shed, tried to break in through her garage before getting onto the roof “to gain access through a skylight”.


At one stage the teenager, who pleaded guilty, had been told that he risked being detained unless he showed remorse for his crime.


He would not say sorry for his part in the burglary and when asked if he would write a letter of apology, the boy had replied “No”.


The teen had also said “I am not apologising....I am not writing a letter”. He was told that he could be let off if he said sorry but had shook his head before saying: “I am not apologising, I done it, I am not sorry for it.”


Even after being told he could be detained, the boy had insisted, “I am not apologising”.


Judge O'Connor said the teenager was trying to use his refusal to apologise for his crime as a “badge of honour”.


The teen who has been residing in a children's care home from which he has continually absconded.


His solicitor Gareth Noble said that the boy has complex welfare issues and had continued to engage in “risk taking behaviour”, however the teen did not meet the criteria for being held in a secure care facility.


He also said the boy's level of understanding unlike that of an average child of the same age.


The youngster, whose mother attended the hearing, is to return to a care facility and the courts have also appointed a guardian to him. There is to be a team of care workers involved with the boy and it was hoped their efforts might help him understand the impact his behaviour has on others, the solicitor said.


Earlier, the court heard that a welfare report showed the boy, who has no prior criminal convictions, had little insight into how his offending affected people. That was “very worrying”, Judge O'Connor had said.


He had also said he had huge concerns about the safety of others and “the lack of insight in relation to this is pretty startling notwithstanding his age, there is no acceptance that what he is doing his causing huge problems”.

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