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Teen handed community service order for burgling deaf woman

Central Criminal Court
Central Criminal Court

A teenager has been ordered to carry out community service after he and a younger boy burgled the house of a profoundly deaf woman last year.

Lewis Smith (18) previously of Glenshane Grove, Tallaght, Dublin broke into the house the day after he turned 18. The teenagers stole a computer tablet, a mobile phone and a television during the burglary.

Garda Jennifer Grogan told Eilis Brennan BL, prosecuting, that the homeowner later discovered that the following message “I had sex with your nanny in a box” had been written on the sitting room wall in pen.

Smith pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary in Tallaght on September 2, 2014. He has a previous conviction for criminal damage and stealing a car.

His 17-year-old co-accused, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the same charge and is due for sentence later.

Judge Martin Nolan had adjourned the case after hearing evidence last month and ordered the preparation of a probation report to see if Smith is suitable for community service.

He remanded him on continuing bail until then on condition that he lives with his grandmother at Mill Road, in Saggart, that he keep to a curfew of midnight until 8am and that he sign on three times a week at Tallaght Garda Station.

“You got your warnings and you are young enough to change your life. The question is do you want to? If you don't want to, you know what it is before you,” Judge Nolan told Smith.

He said he had no doubt that the woman's peace of mind was greatly affected but accepted it was “highly unlikely” that either teenager knew she was deaf.

Today/yesterday Thursday Ms Brennan informed Judge Nolan that Smith has since broken his curfew and been charged with public order after he became abusive while signing on at his local garda station.

He also has been charged with an alleged burglary that was committed earlier this month but has not indicated if he intends to plead guilty to this offence.

Judge Nolan said Smith “enjoys the presumption of innocence” with the new burglary case and added that the judge who may sentence him in the future may determine that a prison sentence is appropriate.

He said he will “sentence him as I intended to” after he noted Smith was considered a suitable candidate for community service by the Probation Service. He ordered that he carry out 200 hours community service within a year in lieu of a two year prison sentence.

Gda Grogan told Ms Brennan at last month's hearing that the homeowner was informed by her neighbour at 4am that her home had been burgled. She had been in bed.

The following week she identified her mobile phone and tablet at her local garda station after the items had been taken from the teenagers.

The teenagers were stopped by Gda Grogan and her colleague Garda David Jennings on September 2, when they were spotted acting suspiciously in the area.

Smith had a mobile phone on him and a screw driver in the waistband of his tracksuit bottoms. The other boy was carrying a tablet. Both were arrested but made no admissions in interview.

The woman told gardaí that the burglars had got into the house through a downstairs bathroom window and fingerprints taken from that were later found to match those of the 17-year-old.

George Burns BL, defending Smith told Judge Nolan that his client had written a letter of apology to the lady and the court. He said he is remorseful for his actions.