Boy threw wok of hot food at care worker

A teenager who threw a wok of scalding food over a care worker during an assault at a children’s homehas been spared a custodial sentence.

The 17-year-old was released on supervised probation for the next 12 months but warned by Judge John O’Connor that he would be detained for two years if he broke the terms.

The attack happened after the troubled boy got angry that care workers would not take him out for a drive because of his aggressive behaviour, the Dublin Children’s Court heard.

Judge John O’Connor was told the incident took place at a residential care home for teenagers in Dublin on a date in August last year.

The care worker said the boy was 15 to 20 feet away from him holding the wok “with a full fry, and he just lobbed it at me. I blocked it with my left arm.”

He said that “it happened so quickly I just had time to put my hand up, I was covered in boiling meat”.

After losing the case, during which the victim faced cross-examination, the youth instructed his solicitor to apologise on his behalf. However, the judge had said “I’m not buying it.”

He said the victim was put under pressure as if his behaviour had contributed to the incident when there was no evidence of that.

The court heard the youth had seven prior criminal convictions for criminal damage and public order offences and had been given a suspended sentence earlier this year. He is also awaiting trial for another alleged assault. The teenager was accompanied to the hearing by care staff, his social worker, and his mother.

He had apologised to the care worker.

“I’d like to say I’m sorry, you shouldn’t have been in that situation regardless how I was feeling at that time,” he said. “I should not have thrown the pan at you and acted aggressively. I was going through a lot of stuff at the time. I was not thinking what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking I would end up in a situation like this.

“I’m honestly sorry. You took care of me when I was there and I did get on with you well.”

The care worker said he accepted the apology and thanked the teen.

The court heart that in another incident, he seriously injured a woman in Dublin on July 4. Judge O’Connor was told there had been an incident at the care home in which the youth damaged a wiper on a car, and a drain pipe.

The judge said the youth had significant issues but his behaviour was outrageous.

However, he gave the youth a chance by imposing the 12-month probation bond. The teenager must engage with a mental health service, Probation Service, and be in education or get a job. Otherwise he will get a custodial sentence, the judge warned.


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