Sunday 24 February 2019

'You should be in prison' - judge tells dad of teen thief who 'ran amok'

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Tom Tuite

A JUDGE has told a father he should be jailed after he left the country while his son “ran amok”.

Judge John O’Connor said a six-month custodial sentence was hanging over the 16-year-old defendant who appeared before the Dublin Children’s Court on a litany of theft charges.

The case resumes in February.

The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, has admitted stealing a phone worth €880 from a Three shop on Pearse St, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath on October 28, 2017; theft of a phone valued at €699 at DID in the Tullamore retail park and two phone together worth €868 from Expert electrical Cloncollig industrial estate in the same Co. Offaly town on November. 11, 2017.

The boy had pleaded guilty to theft of a €700 phone from an Eir shop on Blanchardstown in November 2017. He was stole €70 worth of fuel in a drive off theft at a petrol station on January 30 last year.

He also skipped court three times, resulting in two bench warrants from the Dublin Children’s Court and one from a court in Cork.

The court heard the teen’s parents spent months in Romania visiting a sick relative who later died.

Meanwhile their son had repeatedly ignored meetings he was supposed to attend with his probation officer who was asked to provide the court with a pre-sentence report on the youth who was aged 14 at the time of some the thefts.

Judge O’Connor said reports in April and May 2018 said the probation officer received no communication from the family.

Further adjournments followed and the teen was warned again in November and December.

When the case resumed the latest report from January this year said there still had been no engagement from the boy or his family.

Four appointments with his probation officer were missed.

Pleading to be spared a sentence, the teen said his next report would be 100 per cent positive.

The teen was accompanied to court by his parents and his father begged the court to give his son another chance. He said that he would go to the meetings with his son.

Judge O’Connor did not believe the man and said the there has been no remorse.

The father admitted he and his wife had been in Romania and claimed other family members were looking after his son who was left behind in Ireland.

“You should be arrested and be in prison as a result of your behaviour, not looking after your son who has run amok in this country”.

At the end of the lengthy hearing, Judge O’Connor said he was giving the boy and his parents “one chance and one chance only” to engage with the Probation Service otherwise he will get a six month sentence.

The case resumes in February and he warned if there were any other issues in relation to the family the Child and Family Agency will be getting involved.

On the next date he will get a report to see if the boy and his parents turned up for the meetings with the teen’s probation officer, “and I don’t want any excuses”.

If there was co-operation the case will be adjourned for four weeks for an updated report but, he warned, if they don’t attend the meetings the case will be finalised with a six-month sentence for the boy.

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