No jail for teen burglar who robbed two Dublin establishments in one night

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
No jail for teen burglar who robbed two Dublin establishments in one night

A TEENAGER, who burgled a pub and a chip shop in Dublin on the same night, has been given a 10-month suspended sentence to let him continue his education.

The 17-year-old boy pleaded guilty to the break-ins at the Trader's Public House and Macari's takeaway in Dublin 12 on October 20 last.

He was already serving a sentence but was spared an additional term because it would have meant his education would be interrupted by a move to another detention centre.

Garda Larry Dempsey told the Dublin Children's Court that the burglaries happened at about 4.15am. Gardai responded and saw a vehicle speeding from the scene without its lights on and gardai signalled them to stop. However the car continued and led gardai on a 15-minute pursuit which ended in Citywest Industrial Estate. Four males including the teenager were arrested as they attempted to flee from the '99-reg car.

During the break-in at the pub, two charity collection boxes and €100 were taken. About €100 and some drinks were stolen from the chip shop.

Gda Dempsey agreed with the defence that the boy had not been the driver of the car which attempted to evade gardai but he had been a passenger. All the money was recovered, Judge John O'Connor heard.

The defendant, who was accompanied to court by his parents, had 14 prior criminal convictions including two for assault and one burglary and robbery along with dangerous driving and other motoring offences.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone asked the court to note that the teenager is serving a sentence and due to be released in May. During his period in detention he realised he has quite a bit of ability and he now wants to further his education, counsel said.

He is being held at Oberstown detention centre but because he is now aged 17 a new custodial sentence would mean transfer to Wheatfield Prison. He would not be able to carry on his education, the barrister said in pleas for a suspended sentence.

This would be a significant reason for his client not to get involved in further offending, the barrister argued.

Judge O'Connor told the teenager that getting a suspended sentence was not being "let off" and he noted from a probation report that the boy was at a high risk of re-offending.

He imposed a 10-month sentence but suspended it on condition the teenager does not commit another crime within the next 12 months. He warned him that if the boy re-offends the teenager's sentence would be activated and would be a consecutive term in custody.