Teen charged with arson attack on puppet theatre remanded in custody

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen charged with arson attack on puppet theatre remanded in custody

A 16-YEAR-OLD accused of carrying out an arson attack at the renowned Lambert Puppet Theatre in Dublin has been further remanded in custody pending directions from the DPP.

It is estimated that €150,000 worth of damage was caused to the historic venue – home of children's TV series Bosco and Wanderly Wagon – which was founded in 1972 by Eugene Lambert and now run by his son Liam Lambert.

Last month, a 16-year-old boy was refused bail after he appeared at the Dublin Children's Court charged with arson and burglary.

Today he faced his fourth hearing at the juvenile court in connection with the fire and Judge John O'Connor granted a two-week adjournment for directions from the DPP to be obtained.

He also said it is likely there will be a “section 75” hearing which decides whether the case will stay in the juvenile court or go forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.

State solicitor Terence Hamilton said, “the value of damage is approximately €150,000”.

The teen's solicitor Aenghus McCarthy asked the court to note the boy is in custody and he said the trial venue should be quite obvious given the value of damage. He was also granted an order for disclosure of prosecution evidence.

The teenager has been denied bail in the Children's Court and was also unsuccessful in a High Court bid to get released pending trial.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his parents and barrister, has not yet entered a plea.

The blaze broke out between 8pm and 8.45pm on August 28th in the theatre at Clifton Lane, Monkstown, Co. Dublin. The Dublin Children's Court has heard the boy was arrested at his south Co. Dublin home last week and he “made no reply” when the charges were put to him.

Earlier, Garda Doyle told Judge O'Connor it was alleged, “the culprit entered the property, spending 45 minutes on the premises, ransacked an office and on noticing CCTV cameras the culprit started noticed two fires, causing considerable damage to the theatre and high value puppets.”

He said damage in excess of €150,000 was caused by the blaze and the offences can carry maximum sentences of 10 and 14 years.

Gda Doyle said there was strong evidence and CCTV captured the boy in the vicinity at 6.15pm in a vehicle registered to his mother. Five minutes later it stopped outside the theatre and the boy was allegedly seen on security cameras and later identified through enquiries, the has court heard.

The teen's solicitor has also said the case would be contested and there was no forensic evidence linking the boy to the scene.