Teen caused €10,000 worth of damage to care home

Teen caused €10,000 worth of damage to care home

A Circuit Court judge has said that the options available to him in dealing with a teenager who caused more than €10,000 worth of damage at his care home are “stark”.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to causing criminal damage to the care home and to a car belonging to the home on February 27, 2015.

Judge Martin Nolan said if he gave the teenager a non-custodial sentence he needed “some reassurance that he is not going to walk out of here with nowhere to go”.

He noted that the teenager has no previous convictions but said he has concerns because a report from the Probation Service concluded that he was at a high risk of re-offending mainly due to his addictions and lack of parental support.

“At this stage he is not fit to be let loose in society,” Judge Nolan said, adding that the “alternatives available to the court are stark”.

Garda Alan Rooney said the boy was currently on remand in Oberstown Detention Centre awaiting the finalisation of a case before the District Court.

The house manager of the Dublin care home, where the teenager caused the damage, told the court there was a place available to him until he turns 18 years old next year.

He said there would be a place available for the teenager in an after-care programme once he reached the age of maturity.

Judge Nolan adjourned the case until next month when the District Court case is completed. He asked that the house manager prepare a report outlining how the teenager would be supervised in this after-care programme.

“If he had a record of conviction I would not be exploring a non-custodial sentence,” Judge Nolan said.

Gda Rooney told Cormac Quinn BL prosecuting, the boy was a new resident in the care home when he went into a rage after he was told another boy, who had been living there, had been placed elsewhere.

He became further enraged when he was told the house car would not be made available to him that day and threatened staff that if they didn't bring him out he would “wreck the place”.

He then kicked out the glass and frame of a sitting room window before smashing all the windows of the car with a fire grate.

He was asked to calm down before he flung the same grate through the front door, smashing the glass panels. He took the wipers and wing mirrors off the car and let the handbrake up.

Gda Rooney said the total damage caused was €10,636 and the car was effectively written off because the damage would cost too much to repair.

The teenager was arrested and interviewed by gardaí. He told officers that he regretted “breaking up the place”.

He said he was worried the other teenager had been kicked out because he had been wrongly accused of drinking and taking tablets, when it had actually been him who had been doing that.

The house manager agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending that there had been a multi-agency approach in trying to assist the teenager to prevent him from re-offending.

He agreed that he has ADHD and a difficulty with authority that caused him to act out in a self destructive way.

The witness accepted that the teenager had a difficult background, addiction problems and was very impressionable.