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Young man who helped cause €120k damage to Detention Centre gets four-year sentence

Judge Melanie Greally said the incident at Oberstown had involved a considerable amount of damage to state property and taken place over a prolonged period
Oberstown Children's Detention Campus

Oberstown Children's Detention Campus

Eimear DoddSunday World

A man who was one of four detainees who caused €120,000 in damage to the Oberstown Children's Detention Centre in 2016 has been handed a four-year sentence.

Philip McCabe (23) and Luke Cronin (22) both pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal damage at Oberstown Children's Detention Centre on September 20 and 21, 2016.

McCabe of Cherry Orchard Court, Ballyfermot, Dublin 10 also pleaded guilty to one count of driving a car without permission on July 17, 2017 at Palmerstown Woods, Clondalkin and three counts of burglary from separate businesses in the Finglas area on April 30, 2019.

Judge Melanie Greally said the incident at Oberstown had involved a considerable amount of damage to state property and taken place over a prolonged period.

She noted both defendants had been juveniles at the time and there had been a considerable delay in the prosecution.

The judge handed McCabe a four-year sentence for the criminal damage and two-year sentences on each of the other counts.

She adjourned Cronin's sentencing to July 8 to review a psychological report.

The court heard that both McCabe and Cronin of Bakers Road, Gurranbraher, Co. Cork, along with two others, were involved in an incident of disorder which lasted several hours and resulted in damage to furniture, IT equipment, the kitchen and staff room at the detention centre.

Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, told Judge Greally that the prosecution had been delayed due to the retirement of some investigating gardai and staff members at Oberstown. No victim impact statements were submitted.

Both defendants have a history of substance abuse.

McCabe has 118 previous convictions and is currently serving a five-and-half year sentence for robbery with a release date in 2025.

Cronin has 43 previous convictions, primarily for public order offences. He is currently in custody on another matter.

Simon Matthews BL, defending McCabe, said it had taken a long time, but McCabe was now on the right path.

While the criminal damage charge was serious, Mr Matthews said it dates back to 2016.

McCabe had been involved in an accident on May 1, 2020 which caused serious injuries and memory loss.

Counsel said McCabe's criminality was linked to his addiction issues. McCabe also suffers from mental health difficulties.

Mr Matthews said McCabe is in a relationship and has a young child. McCabe is also at risk of becoming institutionalised due to the amount of time he has already spent in custody.

Carol Doherty, BL, defending Cronin, said Cronin was a juvenile at the time of the offence and had a history of substance abuse, which a psychological report linked to issues during his education.

Cronin is a father of one child and in a stable relationship with his partner.

In relation to McCabe, the court had previously heard evidence about the three counts of burglary. These incidents involved the theft of small amounts of cash and some criminal damage. McCabe made full admissions to gardai.

On the charge of driving a car without permission faced by McCabe, the court heard that the victim discovered her car had been removed from outside her home in the early hours of July 17, 2017.

Gardai spotted the vehicle and pursued it. The car subsequently crashed at Blackditch Drive and the occupants fled the scene. DNA taken from the driver's side of the car identified McCabe. The vehicle itself was a write-off.

McCabe co-operated fully with gardai, but could not initially recall the incident. He maintained that he only drove the vehicle.

Judge Greally said McCabe was a young man, who had expressed a wish to live a more constructive life and maintain his relationship with his child. She said there is a risk that he could become institutionalised at a young age.

She backdated the sentences imposed on McCabe to July 8, 2021 and ordered they should run concurrently with his current sentence.


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