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Teen who threatened to stab care worker spared jail

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Teen who threatened to stab care worker spared jail

A TROUBLED 15-year-old boy has been spared a custodial sentence for threatening to stab a care worker who was being attacked by another youth.

The incident happened during a serious outbreak of violence at a children's care home in Dublin.

A care worker in the home was knocked unconscious when he was attacked by another boy, aged 17, who was armed with a sock containing a heavy bottle of aftershave, the Dublin Children's Court heard.

Judge John O'Connor was furnished with additional pre-sentence welfare reports on the younger boy who got involved in the attack. He imposed a six-month probation bond on the 15-year-old.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone had asked the court to note that the boy was under the direction of the older youth when he got a knife and threatened to stab one of the care workers during the incident last September.

A car was stolen from the facility following the assault and was later written off, however, the 15-year-old boy was not the driver.

The teen pleaded guilty to making a threat to kill or cause serious harm in connection with the incident. Judge John O'Connor was furnished with a pre-sentence report on the teen and he imposed the six-month probation bond 

The boy remains in care and has managed to salvage his placement despite his involvement in the incident.

At an earlier stage, Mr McKeone called the boy's former court appointed guardian ad litem who had worked with him for three years to give evidence. She said the boy was very aware he faced a very serious case. 

She said he had been very co-operative in care despite being deeply saddened because he was separated from his relatives whom, she said, are a traditional traveller family.

She had also agreed with Judge John O'Connor that the boy had detachment issues. 

His mother had difficulties putting boundaries in place for him. It was thought that when he first went into the care home it would not hold him and but he has settled in and is taking part in sports activities.

He had difficulties reading and writing and while he hates going to the school placement arranged for him, he still attends and staff there "love to see him".

He looks tough but is remorseful and is worried about the court proceedings, the child welfare expert said.

There were also positive reports on the boy from gardai.

The teen must now stay out of trouble, remain under the supervision of the Probation Service and accept their guidance to divert him from re-offending. Failure to stick to the terms of the probation bond could result in the teenager brought back to to court and face a custodial sentence instead.

The older youth, who is the alleged ring-leader, awaiting Circuit Court trial because the case against is more serious. A 14-year-old boy is also before the juvenile court on charges connected to the incident.