Troubled teen 'immersed in head-shop culture', court told

A troubled 15-year-old boy, who stole to pay for drugs from head shops, has been released under supervised probation for six months.

The north Dublin teenager, who is on educational level of a nine-year-old, had become “immersed in a head-shop culture”, the Children's Court had been told.

He had pleaded guilty to theft of a mobile phone from a man on April 6 last, at Wellington Quay. He had also admitted stealing a handbag from a woman, on O’Connell Bridge, on March 23.

He also pleaded guilty to separate charges for failing to turn up to court and for failing to comply with a garda’s direction under the Public Order Act to leave the vicinity of a inner city street where a youth had thrown an object at a patrol car.

The teenager had been given bail in June with a condition banning from head shops, and he had been remanded to appear again for a probation report to be furnished to the court.

The boy came to his case today accompanied by his grandmother, with whom he resides, and his social worker.

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble asked Judge Tom O'Donnell to note that a positive probation report which contained a number of recommendations had been furnished to the court in relation to the boy.

He also asked the court to take into consideration that at an earlier stage the teen had been held in custody where he had co-operated with a range of assessments which had been carried out there.

“Since his release, he has moved in the right direction and made progress,” Mr Noble said.

Noting that a “very positive” report had been furnished, Judge O'Donnell imposed a six-month probation bond on the boy.

This means the teenager must be supervised by the Probation Service and cooperate with them, to address his offending and any other related difficulties; otherwise the case could be brought back to court which could impose an alternative sanction, including a custodial sentence.

Earlier in the case, Mr Noble had said the boy was functioning on the educational level of a nine-year-old and had “become immersed in a head-shop culture” which was at the root of his difficulties.

“The snatches that took place were to fund that difficulty,” Mr Noble said.

At a previous stage, his client had been associating with older city centre youths who were frequently before the court. This had been in breach of his bail conditions and resulted in the teen being remanded in custody in May for four weeks.

The court had also heard that social services would continue to work with the boy to help him with his problems.


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