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No jail for teen thug who snatched phone to pay drug debt

No jail for teen thug who snatched phone to pay drug debt

A 17-year-old boy, who snatched a woman's phone to help pay a drug debt, has been spared a sentence.

He pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to stealing the €200 phone on a south Dublin street on the afternoon of Jan. 8 last. Judge John O'Connor was told the teen “snatched” it from the woman's hand and then fled.

However, he was identified from CCTV footage but the phone was not recovered.

He had nine prior criminal convictions including motor theft, three counts of hit and run as well as escaping from custody and dangerous driving.

Earlier this year he was banned from driving for two years and he has recently completed a three-month custodial sentence.

The defence barrister furnished the court with a letter from the teen. He was apologetic when interviewed by gardai, the lawyer also said.

The court heard the teen had a “chaotic lifestyle” and had been under the influence of tablets when he stole the phone. He does not recall the incident.

He had a drug addiction money and was in debt, Judge O'Connor heard in pleas for leniency.

His custodial sentence brought about a change in him and he is staying away from drug-taking and also plans to get onto an educational course, the court heard.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, now interacts with new friends now and has not come to garda attention since his release.

Judge O'Connor was furnished with a probation report on the teenager. He noted it recommended placing him on probation for six months.

Judge O'Connor agreed to follow the recommendations.