NewsCrime Desk

Teen's assaults in care ' cry for help'

Teen's assaults in care ' cry for help'

A 16-YEAR-OLD Dublin boy has told a court his attacks on staff at the State's top secure therapeutic care centre for troubled youths were a “cry for help”.

The boy appeared at the Dublin Children's Court accused of assault causing harm to care staff, a man and two women, at Ballydowd Young People's Centre in Lucan on Wednesday.

Care staff have been left in fear of the boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The secure therapeutic centre is a special facility which holds troubled children who have been detained by High Court for their own care and welfare. It can hold about 10 young people.

Garda Kevin Dingley objected to bail citing the seriousness of the charges and applied for the boy to be remanded in custody to the Oberstown Detention Centre.

The court heard medical reports have to be obtained and some more statements have to be taken.

The boy had also been warned previously not to attack staff at the facility.

Shane Reynolds solicitor for Tusla Child & Family Agency told the court that staff were assaulted, threatened and were “in fear”.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble asked Judge John O'Connor to note that the boy had not given any trouble for the past six weeks.

He said that the teen's case was reviewed in the High Court and it was being examined whether or not, given his progress, he would be moved to a step-down care facility in the community.

The teenager was also brought out on day trips as a result of his improved behaviour.

However, the solicitor said the incident on Wednesday morning stemmed from the boy's reaction to having his room at the Ballydowd facility searched.

The court heard that assessments of the boy had been carried out and there have been a number of diagnoses, including ones in relation to autism.

Mr Noble said that either way the teen who had significant issues would be detained.

However, in Oberstown there would not be the same level of intervention, he suggested. 

The boy sat with his arms folded listed off names of facilities where he had been assessed and said “the help I've been getting is overboard, I'm crying for help, honestly what I'm saying to you today is this man needs help”.

Judge O'Connor remanded the boy in custody to appear again next week when the bail hearing will resume.

The teenager also has other cases before the court relating to alleged violent incidents at Ballydowd and staff there had been previously described as traumatised by his behaviour. The teenager has not yet entered pleas to his charges.