Teen who hit youth worker with golf club given custodial sentence
A TROUBLED teenager, who attacked a youth worker with a golf club, has been given a six-month custodial sentence for a litany of assaults in care.
The boy, 15, pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to 22 charges in connection with incidents last year in a residential care home. A further charge related to an incident where he jumped out of a moving car brandishing a wheel brace.
Specialist welfare reports detailed how the boy, described as having an unsettled childhood, had significant learning problems and serious detachment issues.
Judge John O’Connor described the incidents as dreadful violence and imposed a 12-month detention-supervision order, meaning the teen will be detained for six months followed by six months of supervised probation.
He agreed that the boy’s detachment issues were particularly significant and he noted the teen’s severe comprehension and verbalisation difficulties. Judge O’Connor remarked that a probation report stated the teenager has shown no remorse and lacks empathy or insight into his behaviour.
The court heard that on Nov. 25 last the boy had not been allowed take a bike out of a shed at his care home. He got a golf club and began swinging it at a male care worker striking him on the arm causing bruising.
On Nov. 3 last he kicked the wing mirror of a car and destroyed a 40-inch TV at his accommodation.
Judge O’Connor was told that on Nov. 27 he had an argument with staff in the children’s home and he struck a female carer with his fist and pushed her against a wall. It was very painful but did not cause lasting injuries.
The teen punched a care worker who had disarmed him after he went to get a piece of wood while he was in a row with an other resident in the home. The woman staff member suffered bruising.
On April 4 last year, he smashed a kettle while on Oct. 8 he caused €100 worth of damage to a freezer.
There were more assaults on Oct. 4 last on two female staff who were kicked and punched during an incident in which the boy also smashed a chair over a table. The court was told that on Oct. 24, he threatened to attack an other woman who worked in the home; he kicked in a door and pulled a fire extinguisher off a wall during the same incident.
He attacked three more male staff members on Nov. 26 while on October 6 he twice assaulted two female care workers and damaged a car at the home as well as various furniture and fittings; The breach of the peace incident in which he brandished the wheel brace happened in north Co. Dublin on date last September.
On Aug. 15, there was also another an assault on a male staff member in the home.
He pleaded guilty to 13 assaults, eight criminal damage incidents, breach of the peace and production of a weapon capable of causing injury.
The boy has nine prior criminal convictions including six thefts, two criminal damage incidents and one assault for which he was given an eight-month sentence in February.
Judge O’Connor was furnished with a probation report and a multi-disciplinary welfare report on the boy. Pleading for leniency, defence solicitor Colleen Gildernew said the boy had an unsettled childhood and was raised by extended family members while his mother “has her own issues”. The solicitor said he is engaging with education and sports in custody.
It was clear he had difficulties with his anger and there is something underlying this behaviour in which he “seems prone to outbursts and lashing out”, she said.
One welfare report stated the teenager had low self esteem and poor self worth, and he has experienced significant issues: detachment and trauma. He appears to have more regard for others than himself and needed structured education. Assessments have also found he has significant learning issues on the level of a mild to moderate intellectual disability and he would benefit from speech and language therapy. The court heard the boy also has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
The teenager, was accompanied to court by two family members who have helped bring him up. He did not address the court during the sentence hearing.
Judge O’Connor noticed him smiling during the proceedings but accepted that was a result of his communication problems.