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Teen who 'had knife for safety' is held in custody

A DUBLIN teenager who told gardai that he armed himself with a large knife for his own safety has been remanded in custody.

Psychiatric, psychological and behavioural assessments of him were also ordered at the Dublin Children's Court on Thursday by Judge Ann Ryan, who said a number of agencies must co-operate to help the boy, who is facing a litany of criminal charges.

The 16-year-old was remanded in custody after he admitted to a breach of the peace where he told a garda to "f*** off". The officer had cautioned the teen who had been with a group of youths hassling people walking through an area in north inner-city Dublin. Concerns were also raised that he had broken bail terms set earlier to stop him abusing alcohol and drugs.

The boy, whose case resumes in four weeks, has yet to enter pleas in connection with a range of offences allegedly committed over the past four months. His other charges include trespassing, thefts and knife possession

Judge Ryan heard on Thursday that while he was on bail, the teenager has continued to come to garda attention. Over recent weeks he had been caught with heroin and cannabis, it was also claimed.

Defence solicitor Ann Brizzell told Judge Ryan that the boy was consenting to being held in custody. The defence lawyer said the teen had been residing with his family but "they have some problems in relation to other youths he is associating with".

The solicitor said the teen's mother, who attended the hearing, does not feel it is safe for him to be in the family home.

The court heard also that when arrested for carrying "a large block knife" the teen had claimed he had it "for his own safety". In addition to the assessments to be carried out in custody, the Probation Service is to prepare a report on the boy.

Judge Ryan heard that social services had previous involvement with the boy but later "the file was closed". She stressed that they needed to "get on board".

"If we have all parties working together we might be able to progress things," the judge said.

In total the boy faced 10 charges.