Judge: Teenager’s case sounds like slavery to me

An arrangement where the parents of a 17-year-old girl from Romania let a man bring her to Ireland where she was arrested for theft “sounds like slavery to me”, a judge said yesterday.

Three days after arriving in Ireland with the man, aged 23, who claims to be her fiancé, she was arrested for stealing €296 worth of cosmetics in Dublin.

The girl was arrested on Tuesday and held in a Garda station overnight. Gardaí were concerned she was an unaccompanied minor. On Wednesday she was remanded in custody by Dublin Children’s Court over concerns she did not have an address.

Yesterday, the case resumed and the man claiming to be her partner came to court with a document from Romania which stated the teen’s parents had given him “power of attorney” to bring her to Britain.

Judge O’Connor said the case was “very upsetting” and it seemed very serious concerns for the girl’s welfare were being ignored by social services.

“I have a 17-year-old in court, she is in custody at present, has her fiancé in court with her, at least that is what I have been told, I have a power of attorney in Romanian — it sounds like slavery to me,” said Judge O’Connor.

After the girl pleaded guilty, she was released and ordered to appear again next week. A lawyer for the HSE said social services would open a file on the girl.


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