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Kildare teenager 'forced to steal €1,300 worth of clothes by older relative'

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Dundrum Town Centre, where the theft took place (Image via Google Maps)
Dundrum Town Centre, where the theft took place (Image via Google Maps)

A THEN 13-year-old boy was brought to steal €1,300 worth of clothes by an older relative who then abandoned him when gardai caught up with them, a court has heard.

The boy, now aged 15, who claimed he was forced to steal when he was charged with the theft,  has been remanded on bail with a warning he could face a custodial sentence.

The teen appeared at the Dublin Children's Court charged with trespassing in a manner that would cause fear at the Palatine Father's religious society's premises in Dundrum in Dublin on May 14 last.

He also had another charge for stealing €1,300 worth of menswear from the Hollister shop at Dundrum Town Centre on June 4, 2014. 

His remaining charges were for theft and burglary from a Co. Carlow cash and carry where he stole phones and a tablet computer with a total value of €2,200 in April 2014.

A delay in his case was result of bench warrants for not attending his earlier court dates and when arrested earlier this month for trespassing he had been trying to flee from gardai.

The court heard that on June 4, 2014, gardai responded to a reported theft at the Dundrum Shopping Centre. A car was stopped nearby but the driver fled, leaving the boy and a large quantity of clothing. 

When charged the teenager told a garda: "I was made do that theft."

The Co. Kildare teenager, who was accompanied to court by his mother and his solicitor, pleaded guilty to all charges.

Defence solicitor Michelle Finan said the boy was impressionable and under the influence of an older relative who had been the driver of the car. The teenager made admissions when arrested.

The court heard he already has six criminal convictions for two thefts,  failing to appear in court, failing to give a Garda his name and address contrary the Public Order Act, a burglary and possessing a knife as a weapon for which he was placed on supervised probation last year.

Ms Finan said her client's family had been homeless and his mother had been in an abusive relationship at the time. They have since been rehoused and !things are looking hopeful", the solicitor said, adding that the boy has been out of school for the past two years but there are efforts to get him back into education.  

She said the boy, who sat silently throughout the hearing, is now getting involved in football and "trying to get back in to some lifestyle where he has a future".

Judge O'Connor noted most of the boy's offences went back to 2014 but there was the incident earlier this month where the teen trespassed while trying to dodge gardai. He said that was not a good sign.

The case was adjourned until a date in June. He warned the teenager that if a bad probation report is furnished to the court he runs the risk of being detained.

There was no objection to bail providing he remains out of the D14, D16 and D18 areas.