Bench warrant | 

Judge orders arrest of boy who missed court hearing over firework arson attack

The boy admitted setting off the firework, which started the blaze through a window. However, he denied intentionally aiming it at the house.
Stock Photo

Stock Photo

Tom Tuite

A JUDGE has ordered the arrest of a 14-year-old boy awaiting sentence for a firework arson that gutted a Dublin home.

The schoolboy, whose actions led to about €135,000 worth of damage, failed to turn up to the Dublin Children's Court for a sentencing hearing Tuesday.

He pleaded guilty earlier to arson and endangering life in connection with a house fire at Wellington Street, D7, on November 27, 2020.

In November, the court heard he was on cannabis during a restorative justice meeting with his probation officer. The Probation Service was then allowed extra time to engage with the boy and furnished the court with an updated report when the case resumed on Tuesday.

The boy’s solicitor Eoghan O’Sullivan told Judge Paul Kelly the boy was not present.

Judge Kelly issued a bench warrant for his arrest.

Earlier, he described photos of the damage as "shocking". The arson, he said, caused "significant personal and emotional consequences", and the boy "effectively burned the house down".

The boy admitted setting off the firework, which started the blaze through a window. However, he denied intentionally aiming it at the house.

A victim impact statement has been furnished to the court.

Garda David O’Callaghan said three units from the Dublin Fire Brigade extinguished the fire.

The blaze started in the front of the house, in the sitting room.

The owner was out the back with his partner when he heard a loud bang. Smoke and flames came from the sitting room.

He went back to alert his partner, and the two men, in their 50s and 60s, got out. The court heard that they were "made homeless for eight months" after facing a serious risk to their lives.

The older man had hearing difficulties and would not have heard the firework bang.

Their home was insured to cover the €135,000 worth of damage. The couple did not suffer any physical injuries but had “a huge amount of stress”, Garda O’Callaghan said.

The couple had lived in the house since 1983; 15 years ago, they renovated it at the cost of €167,000.

Gardai obtained CCTV footage and identified the boy who made admissions and was apologetic.

His solicitor told the court his actions were "the height of immaturity", and the teen could not foresee the outcome.

At the time, he had family problems; he began smoking cannabis and "hanging around with the wrong people", his solicitor said.

The court heard he was taking part in a bail supervision scheme, getting on well in school and getting involved in sports to learn discipline.

He has been ordered to stay away from the crime scene and the victims.

He cannot be named because he is a minor.

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