Boy who began using cannabis at 13 admits Christmas Eve theft he scarcely remembers

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A youth, who began abusing cannabis at the age of 13 and picked up 25 criminal convictions, is to be sentenced in June for a theft he can barely remember.

The 16-year-old boy, who was already serving a sentence for a litany of crimes including a vicious robbery, pleaded guilty to theft at Park Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin, which happened between 12.30am and 11.30am on December 24, 2017.

Garda Conor Murphy said a car had been left unlocked and a handbag worth €250, containing €100 and a driving licence, was taken.

The court heard the property was not recovered.

The teenager made admissions when arrested and he indicated he had taken drugs and alcohol at the time.

Judge Brendan Toale heard the boy’s “recollection was not the best” but despite that, he was willing to accept responsibility.

He had 25 criminal convictions: one for robbery, six thefts, two for handling stolen property, two burglaries, two public order offences and 12 road traffic charges.

He was given a 12-month custodial sentence last year.

In defence pleas for leniency, Judge Toale was told the teenager had been forthcoming about his guilt and he co-operated with gardaí.

He was abusing substances at the time of the theft and “that appeared to be the root of a lot of his offending”, the teen’s lawyer said.

He was aged 13 when he started using cannabis and his use of substances escalated resulting in a “particularly chaotic" period in his life until he commenced his current sentence.

In custody, he started taking courses so he can look for work after his release from the Oberstown Detention Centre.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, had been studying before he came to court for his hearing, Judge Toale heard.

The youth, who cannot be named because he is a minor, did not address the court during the proceedings.

Judge Toale adjourned sentencing for a probation report to be prepared. The case resumes in June.

In November, the boy was given a one-year sentence after the court heard he held a man while accomplices took turns punching him during a vicious mugging in Dublin.

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