Teen with knife faces extended detention

One of the most troublesome teenagers ever detained at Oberstown centre in Dublin was sentenced to nine months in detention there yesterday for carrying a knife in Cork, but he was released on bail pending an appeal.

Judge Con O’Leary imposed the nine-month term on the 16-year-old at a juvenile sitting of Cork District Court yesterday for carrying the Stanley knife down his pants on April 8.

Judge O’Leary refused to accept jurisdiction to deal with another charge against the same teenager for assault causing harm on March 1. Inspector Gary McPolin presented a medical report yesterday on the other youth’s injuries and the stab wounds were so extensive the judge said he would not deal with it at district court level. A book of evidence will now have to be prepared on that.

Several background reports from Oberstown were prepared on the accused in the course of his detention there up to yesterday and during a previous term there.

“His behaviour is more impulsive and more bizarre than the behaviour normally experienced by Oberstown staff,” Judge O’Leary said.

The judge said it was unusual to see such pessimistic reports from Oberstown.

The accused was described as having a preference for resolving his difficulties physically rather than verbally. On one occasion when he did not get the response he wanted from staff, he locked himself in a bathroom and they had to break the door down to get in to him. On another, he trashed his room but the judge noted the teenager was rational enough not to damage his television as he knew this would not be replaced for him.

Reports on the accused also referred to his aggression and instigation of conflict with other young residents at Oberstown who found him a torment.

He was diagnosed with opposition defiant disorder 10 years ago at the age of six and Judge O’Leary said the 16-year-old’s patterns of behaviour now seemed to be deeply ingrained.

The judge noted that all staff dealing with him noted that the accused could be charming and manipulative.

Bail conditions pending his appeal require him to live at home, sign at his local garda station three times a week, have no contact with the injured party and stay away from wherethe assault allegedly happened.

Eddie Burke, solicitor, said yesterday that the teenager was pleading guilty to the charge of carrying the weapon, namely the Stanley knife. Mr Burke said the accused was extremely anxious to get into a residential treatment programme to deal with his addiction issues. He accepted that the background reports made for grim reading.

“There is a public safety issue here. The gardaí have concerns about the young man in public with knives,” Insp Fergal Foley said last week.


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