A teenage boy, who got arrested and ended up in court after he was wrongfully accused of being barred from his local shopping centre, has been spared a criminal record.
The 17-year-old boy, who wrote a heartfelt letter explaining how the experience affected him, told a judge he felt humiliated by security staff during the incident in west Dublin on June 7 last.
The youth, who is looking for work and has no previous criminal convictions, pleaded guilty to a breach of the peace charge, as a result of his refusal to leave.
Judge John O'Connor heard at the Dublin Children's Court that gardai were called when the teen tried to barge his way into a shop. He had been refused entry and told to leave by a security guard who had wrongly told him he was barred.
Defence barrister Aoife McNickle said that when the security man said gardai were coming, the teen “welcomed the fact and he waited in the area until they did”.
The teen, who lives close to the shopping centre, became aggressive at being wrongly accused of being barred, counsel said, adding that her client later became embarrassed at how he dealt with the situation.
He is remorseful, uses his time positively job hunting and taking part in sports, she said.
The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, told Judge O'Connor that during the incident he felt “threatened”.
In a letter of apology to the shopping centre guard, he said he was sorry and explained that he is looking for work and did not want to have a recorded conviction.
“When you said I was barred, it was very humiliating when I was never barred,” the teen said in the letter which was read out in court.
“I should have left it and come back with my parents and sorted it out with my parents, I felt I was being picked on,” he also wrote.
Judge O'Connor said the letter was to be forwarded to the security man.
“I will mark the facts proven and strike out,” the judge then ordered.