Youth given 12-month curfew instead of jail

After being told by a defence lawyer that the State had failed in coming up with alternatives to jail when dealing with young offenders, a judge yesterday ordered a year-long night curfew at home for a troubled Limerick teenager rather than locking him up.

Judge Carroll Moran told the 17-year-old he cannot be out in public after 10pm for the next 12 months. The curfew, he said, was imposed instead of a jail term.

The youth was found guilty at Limerick Circuit Court last January of driving a stolen car. A jury cleared him of a charge of risking death or serious injury to a female garda on foot patrol when he drove the stolen car at her.

Garda Shane Ryan told yesterday’s sentencing hearing that on May 23, 2012, the youth, then aged 16, drove a stolen car at speed in the Southill area.

When Garda Niamh Keogh walked in the direction of the car, the vehicle stalled before driving at high speed in her direction.

Garda Keogh had to jump out of the way. She got sight of the driver, the accused, whom she knew. The court heard it was the youth’s third conviction for driving stolen cars.

John O’Sullivan, prosecuting, said if a term of detention was imposed by the court, the youth would go to a juvenile area at Wheatfield prison.

Brendan Nix, defending, said the accused was engaging with the probation service, and was doing a City and Guilds course in bakery.

If sent to Wheatfield, he would invariably come under the influence of Dublin criminals there, he said.

Mr Nix said the youth’s father, who was in court, was an ‘old lag’ (criminal) who had seen the light and now wanted to bring that light to his son.

Deciding not to send the youth into custody, Judge Carroll Moran ordered that he obey a curfew and remain at home from 10pm to 6am every day for the next 12 months. Judge Moran said he would deal with the matter in April 2015.

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