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Children's Court hears mother was 'in fear of her life' from son

CourtsBy Sunday World
Children's Court hears mother was 'in fear of her life' from son

A TROUBLED youth accused of a serious attack on his mother who was “in fear for her life” has been released on bail into the custody of Tusla, the Child and Family Agency.

The boy, who is in his mid-teens appeared at the Dublin Children's Court on Tuesday evening. He made no reply when charged with assault causing harm to his mother on a date in September and two less serious assaults on her on later dates.

In an outline of the allegations, Judge John O'Connor was told that the teenager attacked his mother by “kicking her in the stomach, face and leg and he also spat in her hair”. The court heard the woman in “was in fear for her life during this incident”.

The teenager was accompanied to the hearing by a social worker and his solicitor Gareth Noble and greeted the judge when he entered the court.

Mr Noble told the court that the boy was before the court in connection with an incident at his family home. He also said that the teenager has been accessing out-of-hours emergency hostel accommodation for a number of weeks.

The court was told the youth had also been staying with an extended family member's home, however, he is no longer welcome at that address.

Mr Noble described the teenager as “appearing to be falling between two stools”. He has only been known to social services since September who are trying to find him accommodation.

Efforts are being made to determine if his issues are connected to mental health difficulties or substance misuse.

He also presented at a hospital as a result of “extreme self harm issues” but the hospital normally dealt with adults.  It was reluctant to admit a child into adult wards and the teenager, said the solicitor, “was again falling between stools”.

Mr Noble said that while the Children's Court cannot remand a young person in custody for welfare reasons the teenager did not want to return to the hostel he has been using. “To use his term it was 'horrible'; he advised he would prefer to go into custody,” said his solicitor.

Judge O'Connor was told that social workers were looking for an alternative and are treating his case as a emergency situation.

The court was told gardai had concerns about where the youth would stay at night and the judge agreed that the out-of-hours service he had been using was not suitable.

The teen's solicitor proposed granting him bail into the custody of the Child and Family Agency who would alert gardai as to where the boy would be staying.

Judge O'Connor agreed to set bail with that condition as well as others stating the boy must stay away from his family home and not initiate any contact with his mother, which had been requested by the prosecuting garda.

The teenager slumped forward on the defendant's bench at this point and as he sat up he said “it's like that for three months” and he quielty added that he has suicidal thoughts every day.

He also said he would rather go to Oberstown juvenile detention centre than use the out-of-hours hostel service again.

Judge O'Connor warned him he must comply with bail conditions and he answered “yeah, I'll do that”. He was also told he would be detained if he broke the bail terms before the case was adjourned until later this week. He has not yet entered a plea to the charges and thanked the judge as he left the court with a social worker and his solicitor.