Judge tells boy 'stay away from family members who'll lead you astray'

Defence said his client had been a “pawn” who was used by his father in this crime
Defence said his client had been a “pawn” who was used by his father in this crime

A 14-year-old boy who accompanied his father to a burglary and was later found in a car containing housebreaking equipment has been given a suspended period of detention.

Judge Melanie Greally at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the boy is now in the care of his mother and doing well but warned him: “You have to stay on the path you are on and stay away from members of your own family who will lead you astray.”

The now 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified as he is a minor, pleaded guilty to burglary on a date in 2014. He has no previous convictions. His father is currently serving a prison sentence.

Judge Greally said the boy had been found by gardai occupying the car in “highly compromising circumstances” but as a 14-year-old child he was manifestly under the influence of others.

She noted his mother said she was exerting a positive influence on him to counter the negative influence of his father. She said as he was still a child, incarceration should only be considered as a last resort.

Judge Greally imposed a two year sentence of detention which she suspended in full.

The court heard that the teen was arrested in relation to the burglary along with his father and a number of other men after gardai stopped their car which was found to contain housebreaking implements such as screwdrivers and pliers.

The occupants of the car, including the boy and his father, were wearing balaclavas and gloves and violently attempted to escape gardai. Items taken in the burglary were recovered in the car.

The prosecuting garda said the car had also been at the scene of a second attempted break in but the men had been disturbed by the home owners.

The garda agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that the teen had been a back seat passenger in the car and he was “accompanying” his father. The garda agreed the boy's father had “addiction difficulties.”

Mr Spencer said his client had been a “pawn” who was used by his father in this crime.

He said the boy's mother had understood the boy's father was bringing the child to where she was living but instead was shocked that he was taken along on this criminal enterprise.

Mr Spencer said the family had suffered a number of tragedies and his client's principal influence at the time had been his father. He said the boy now lived with his mother who “abhors” drugs and the boy did not drink or take drugs.

He said the boy's father had a limited role in relation to the child. He said the boy was assisting his mother in caring for other members of the family as well as undertaking other “extremely healthy pursuits.” He had also been working in the family business.

The boy's mother told Judge Greally she did not have a relationship with the boy's father other than in matters concerning the children. She said that the boy was a “lovely child” who had not been in any further trouble. She said he had apologised for his involvement in the offences.