A 13-year-old Dublin boy has appeared in court accused of torturing a hedgehog to death in a 35-minute attack.
The boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, was charged with animal cruelty offences in connection with the incident on the grounds of a Dublin school on a night last September.
He also faces unrelated theft and public order charges.
The teenager, who was accompanied to court by his father and his solicitor Brian Keenan, was remanded on bail today after he appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court.
The teenager was granted legal aid and ordered to appear again in July when he will be expected to formally indicate how he is going to plead.
A forensic psychologist’s report on him is being prepared.
Garda Gemma Twohig told Judge Treasa Kelly the boy made no reply when she charged him with injuring a protected wild animal, and causing or permitting unnecessary suffering endangering the health and welfare of an animal.
The charges were contrary to the Wildlife Act and the Animal Health and Welfare Act.
The Director of Public Prosecutions recommended the case should be dealt with in the children’s court, not in the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers.
Mr Keenan asked the judge to rule on the teen’s trial venue and he added that because of his age the defence was anxious to get the case moved on as quickly as possible.
In an outline of the allegations, Garda Twohig said it was alleged the boy killed the hedgehog on the grounds of a school and there was CCTV of the incident.
It was alleged the boy was identified from the footage. He was co-operative and made admissions when interviewed.
She said, “this attack was quite lengthy”, lasting 35 minutes.
Judge Kelly accepted jurisdiction.
Mr Keenan said he was going to obtain a report from a forensic psychology service. The teenager has also been engaging well in a bail supervision scheme, the solicitor said.
The boy, who did not address the court, nodded when Judge Kelly urged him to continue co-operating with the scheme and to work to get good reports.
His father told the judge his son was “coming on very well” and he said “there is a big change in him, he is trying to get himself together, doing very well for the last six of seven months.”
The boy also faces charges for possessing a brand new stolen motorbike and theft of a small amount of cash, on dates in October. He is also accused of two public order offences on two dates earlier last year when he was aged 12 years. He has not yet indicated how he will plead to these charges either.
Disclosure of evidence was ordered.