Teen caught with pepper spray given second chance

Pepper Spray
Pepper Spray

A 16-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy, who pleaded guilty to possessing a can of pepper-spray, has been given a chance to avoid a criminal record and a possible sentence.

The first-time offender was remanded on bail by Judge John O'Connor at the Dublin Children's Court pending a Probation Service report on whether he should be let take part in a youth crime diversion programme. 

He admitted possessing a smash hammer and incapacitant spray as weapons after he was stopped in the Walkinstown area in Dublin on a date last October. 

Analysis confirmed the can was an incapacitant spray and at the time of arrest the teenager had no excuse for having it, Judge O'Connor heard. The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, was co-operative with gardai, the court was also told. 

Defence counsel Damian McKeone said he was instructed that the boy, aged 15 at the time of his arrest, found the items and “was not aware that possession of pepper-spray is illegal”.

Counsel also said the teenager helps his family around the house, regularly takes part in sports activities and plans to get onto a course to prepare for the Leaving Certificate.

Judge John O'Connor asked for a family conference report to canvas if the teen would be suited for taking part in what is termed as an “action plan” of restorative justice actives.

This crime-diversion programme, mostly aimed at first-time young offenders and supervised by the Probation Service, is usually run over a six-month period and can result in the defendant keeping a clean record.