16-year-old remanded for joyride damages

A 16-year-old boy who caused €8,000 worth of damages during a high-speed joyride has been remanded in custody pending sentence at the Dublin Children’s Court.

Directions from the DPP are also being sought in relation to an allegation that he assaulted a female garda in Dublin city centre last month.

Judge Bryan Smyth heard that the boy has pleaded guilty to a spate of separate motoring, theft and criminal damage crimes.

Two weeks ago, evidence on five incidents was outlined detailing how the boy had been caught breaking into vehicles, stealing beer from a shop and driving a stolen car. The court had heard that, on June 2 last, while driving a stolen Nissan Micra, the boy had been signalled by gardaí to pull over but instead he “accelerated through red lights and narrowly missed other traffic”.

Today, Judge Smyth heard further evidence of the boy’s offending. After the boy had been arrested in connection with the stolen car on June 2 last, a mobile phone which had been stolen from a foreign tourist had been found in his possession. Earlier that day he had been caught interfering with a stolen car on Sheriff Street.

On June 9 last, the teenager had been driving a stolen car through north inner city Dublin. Pursuing gardaí signalled him to stop but “he continued at speed”.

Eventually the teenager “lost control and crashed into a parked car,” a garda told the court. Damages worth €8,000 were caused as a result of the collision.

Judge Smyth had been told the repeat teen offender already had 15 prior convictions going back over a two-year period. His first offences, when he was aged 14, was for engaging in threatening behaviour, and obstructing a garda.

In the intervening period the boy had been before the court for stealing motor vehicles, criminal damage, driving illegally, violent behaviour in a Garda station, possessing implements for use in the theft and public order violations.

In January 2008, the teen was given a three-month sentence in the Trinity House Detention Centre, in Dublin. In July last year he had been detained there for seven months and earlier that year had been given a four-month sentence.

In mitigation, defence solicitor Maura Keily said the boy had left school early without qualifications and had developed a drink problem. His troubles began when a close relative passed away and he had also started smoking hash.

Earlier, he had opted to take up a place in a residential treatment centre for troubled youths; during that period and when he was receiving assistance from the Probation Service he did not commit offences.

His father, who was present for the case, was supportive and hoped to find his son a job on his release from custody, Judge Smyth was also told.

Ms Keily had also said that a probation officer who had worked with the boy had described him as “likeable and as someone who could live a fruitful life”. She had also added that the teenager’s behaviour had been affected by a “negative peer group”.

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