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Teen 'given a chance' by judge in 'knuckleduster' case

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
After being asked if he was carrying anything he shouldn't have, he handed over a set of knuckle-dusters
After being asked if he was carrying anything he shouldn't have, he handed over a set of knuckle-dusters

A troubled teenage boy has been spared a criminal record and a possible custodial sentence for possessing a set of “knuckle-dusters”.

The 16-year-old from Dublin had been caught when a garda noticed a smell of cannabis and started to question passengers in a car on a date in March.

The Dublin Children's Court heard that after being asked if he was carrying anything he shouldn't have, he handed over a set of knuckle-dusters, a hand-worn implement.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing it as a weapon.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone said that just before he was stopped the boy been given the weapon by a friend who brought it back from Spain.

The boy did not address the court but his barrister explained that while not knowing it was illegal the teen “had a feeling” he should not have been carrying the weapon about with him.

He also asked the judge to note the boy handed it straight over the garda who agreed the teen was co-operative.

Mr McKeone said that the teenager is trying to get on an educational course to prepared for the Leaving Certificate. Counsel said the boy has Attention Deficit Hyper Activity disorder and Aspergers Syndrome and has suffered from depression for which he had been taking medication. There had also been concerns about suicidal ideation.

Judge John O'Connor asked the court's probation officer to talk to the youth and his mother in relation to the possibility of him being included in a restorative justice programme for first-time offenders.

However, when the case resumed the judge said that on this occasion he was going to apply the Probation Act and “give him a chance”. He added that the probation officer had suggested that “the court process itself might be suffice”.