Teen gets five months for witness intimidation

A 16-year-old boy who tried to intimidate a witness to stop her giving evidence against a man accused of vandalising her house, was given a five-month sentence by Judge Bryan Smyth at the Dublin Children’s Court today.

The north Dublin boy pleaded guilty to a trying to persuade the woman, who is in her late thirties, against giving evidence in the man’s forthcoming District Court trial.

In evidence, garda Niamh Hobbs of Ballymun station said that the boy and the man went to the woman’s home, on July 11 last. The teenager, “made threats to her, stated that if she goes to court she will not get to see her grandchildren grow up,” garda Hobbs said.

The man, who was with the boy, is currently facing trial in the District Court for allegedly smashing windows at the woman’s house. That case was due to be heard last month but was adjourned because the woman would not give evidence.

“She was in fear at that time,” said garda Hobbs, who had added that the man’s hearing was now due to take place next month and had been adjourned pending the outcome of the teen’s case.

Judge Smyth was told the boy already had nine previous convictions for handling stolen property, breach of the peace, possessing a knife. The teenager had been given a two-month detention sentence last year over the knife charge.

Last May, he had been given a two-month sentence which was suspended on condition he kept the peace for 12 months for handling stolen goods.

Judge Smyth noted that the intimidation offence, which he described as a “very serious charge for a juvenile, for anyone to be facing,” happened while the suspended sentence was in place.

Last week he adjourned the case to allow the teen’s suspended sentence to be referred to the judge who had imposed it.

He heard that the judge had activated the sentence on Wednesday last. He then proceeded to sentence the teenager to a consecutive five months in St Patrick’s Institution on the witness intimidation charge.

Defence counsel Ms Mary O’Sullivan said the teenager lived with his grandmother and “does not have regular contact with his parents.” She said the boy was remorseful that he had put the woman in fear.

She told Judge Smyth that the teenager had been with an older individual at the time and that he had also been abusing drugs and alcohol.

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