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Special care unit staff under daily threats from teen

Special care unit staff under daily threats from teen

A YOUTH accused of attacking a care worker at one of the country's main secure centres for troubled children is constantly threatening staff, a court has heard.

The boy (16) made his second appearance at the Dublin Children's Court on Tuesday on a charge of assault causing harm to a male at Ballydowd Young People's Centre in Lucan on Apr. 20 last.

The court had heard that frightened staff were traumatised and afraid of the teenager who has allegedly said he will “keep assaulting staff until he gets out”.

The secure therapeutic centre is a special facility which holds troubled children who have been detained by High Court for their own care and welfare. The facility can hold about 10 young people.

The teen had been granted bail last month with conditions he did not assault staff or commit acts of criminal damage and was co-operative and of good behaviour.

When the case resumed on Tuesday, Judge Alan Mitchell was told that gardai need more time to get directions from the DPP in relation to the boy's case.

The teenager was accompanied to court by his solicitor Gareth Noble who said his client remains in special care.

The judge reminded the teen of his bail terms to which the boy replied: “I'm trying my best

There was no objection to bail however Garda Amanda King, the boy's case manager, said she wanted to bring some matters to the court's attention.

She said that “there are daily, on-going threat of staff”.

Judge Mitchell stressed that breach of the terms could result in bail being revoked. He adjourned the case for six weeks.

At an earlier stage Garda Michelle Cannon said that staff at the centre cannot cope with him and “are afraid of him”. She also said the teenager has said he will “keep assaulting staff until he gets out”.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble had said the boy has been found to be “at the most serious end of the spectrum” and found it very difficult being held in the centre where he was placed recently.

It was easier when he was held in a detention centre arising out of criminal proceedings because he had a release date and could mark off the dates on a calender, Mr Noble had said.

However, the care centre is different. He had also said that a number of professional assessments of the boy have been carried out including ones in relation to autism.

At the first hearing, on Apr. 20, Judge John O'Connor, then presiding, had said it was an extremely difficult case, staff were traumatised and and there needed to be a debate on how to  can cope with assaults in special care units.