Teen appears in court charged with 34 crimes after cocaine fulled year long rampage
A TEENAGER, whose life spiralled out of control after “cocaine took hold of him”, has been given a six-month sentence for a series of phone thefts in Dublin.
The 17-year-old boy, who had got addicted to drugs following a death in his family, detailed how his life plunged into a pattern of arrest after arrest, fresh charges and a litany of new court hearings as he kept telling himself each one would be the last.
He had pleaded guilty 34 charges at the Dublin Children’s Court. Six of the offences related to thefts of phones, worth €2,800 in total, some of them while he whizzed past victims on his bike.
He also picked up charges for shoplifting, motoring, criminal damage, skipping court and public order offence during his 11-month crime spree from June 2016 until May this year.
There was a thick stack of charge sheets in front of Judge John O’Connor who heard that the teen has no prior criminal convictions.
During the sentence hearing, he read out a letter from the teen’s mother who described how she and the boy’s father had no problem with him until he was aged 16 when the death occurred of a close family member their son regarded as a best friend.
The mother said her son stopped palling around with his usual friends, fell in with “the wrong crowd” and began abusing cocaine. He had to make money to pay off drug debts, she said.
“We tried to stop him getting worse but it spiralled out of control, we paid off some of his bills to stop him getting hurt,” she said, adding, “cocaine had taken hold of him” and it was heart-breaking.
The parents, who were in court, said in the letter that they were apologetic to all of their son’s victims but he has realised the shame he has brought on his family.
The defence furnished the court with a letter from the youth who cannot be named because he is a minor. The teenager admitted his offences were despicable and “I have to pay for my crimes”.
He said he intends to apply for college and study youth and community work and he wanted to make his parents proud of him.
He had a list of key moments leading up to his sentencing. He mentioned how after each new offence, every time he was arrested, or appeared in court on a fresh charge he had thought “it would be is last time” or “it was all a joke”.
After each of the points he listed, he added, “I was wrong” or “it wasn’t”.
Judge O’Connor noted the north inner city Dublin teen had shown remorse and expressed an intention to turn his life around. However, he had to think of the victims as well, he said. He imposed a six-month custodial sentence and a 12-month probation bond on the teen, who remained silent during the hearing until the end when he said, “thanks judge”.
The youth was also given a two-year road ban for his driving offences which included failing to stop for gardai, having no licence or insurance, and a hit and run after causing minor damage. The sentence was backdated by four weeks to allow for time served by the accused on remand pending sentence.
The boy’s charge sheet time-line:
June 17, 2016: Theft of eight cans cider from a shop.
Sept. 29, 2016: Theft of a Versace T-shirt worth €250 at Kildare Village Shopping Outlet, unlawful possession of a metal detagger for use in a theft.
Oct. 6, 2016: Six Road Traffic Act charges for driving without a licence and insurance, failing to produce documents, having no road tax, failing to remain at scene after causing damage and failing to stop for gardai, at James Joyce Street, Dublin 1.
Oct. 26, 2016. Theft of a phone worth €200 at Fleet Street.
Nov. 8, 2016. Possession of a metal detagger for use in a theft at Dundrum Town Centre and theft of a bag worth €26 from a sportswear shop.
Nov. 9, 2016: Attempted thefts at Burgh Quay and South Great George Street.
Nov. 12, 2016: Theft of a phone worth €400 at Cathedral Street.
Dec. 19, 2016: Theft of a phone worth €600 at Amien Street.
Dec. 31, 2016. Possession of a stolen mobile phone in Summerhill, Dublin 1.
Feb. 15, 2017: Theft of a Nike jacket worth €75 from Arnotts on Henry Street.
March 1, 2017: Theft of a jacket worth €250 at the Great Outdoors shop on Chatham Street and theft of two pairs of sunglasses worth €530from Brown Thomas on Grafton Street during which he was stopped by shop security.
March 7, 2017: Breach of the peace and obstructing arrest at Lower O’Connell Street.
March16, 2017: Theft of cosmetics worth €120 from Debenhams in Blanchardstown.
April 2, 2017: He stole a €500 phone at Gardiner Street Upper.
April 3, 2016: He stole alcohol worth €120 at from a shop on Upper Abbey Street.
April 9, 2016: Two counts of criminal damage to a Capel Street book makers front window and alarm panel.
April 11, 2017: He stole a €700 phone at Burgh Quay and skipped court on the same date.
April 13, 2017: Theft of a phone worth €600 at Parnell Street.
May 13, 2017: Attempted theft of a bicycle at Cathal Brugha Street.
May, 15, 2017: Breach of the peace and being so intoxicated he was a danger to himself and others at Middle Abbey Street. On the same date he stole a remote control toy drone worth €50 from a Dublin city centre shop.