Teen on last chance to avoid another spell in custody after youths cause €6,000 worth of damage at Oberstown

By Tom Tuite

A teenager who helped cause about €6,000 worth of damage at Oberstown detention centre after youths were told to stop smoking, has been given a final chance to avoid a five-month sentence being activated.

The 16-year-old boy pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children’s Court to causing criminal damage to a sports hall and gym equipment at the centre for young offenders on February 19.

Judge John O’Connor said it was a serious incident and he was imposing a five-month sentence but in view of the fact that detention was a last resort he made a deferred detention order.

He told the youth, who was accompanied to court by a family member and is no longer a detainee at Oberstown, that the resumed hearing date, in March, the court will decide whether to activate the sentence, suspend it or impose a community sanction instead.

He said the teen’s previous convictions were aggravating factors but said the mitigating factors included the boy’s personal circumstances which allowed the judge “to give him a last chance”.

A positive probation report on the youth had been furnished the court. He had also been attending an educational and training course and another project to help him, his barrister told the court.

Judge O’Connor told the teen that the decision on whether the sentence would be activated depended on the boy’s co-operation with the Probation Service.

The Oberstown detention centre, near Lusk in north Dublin, is the State’s main detention centre for minors detained by the criminal courts. It accommodates children aged 13-17 held on remand or who have been sentenced for offences.

In an outline of the allegations, Garda John Hanley Had told the court that four detainees began smoking in the sports hall and when they were told to stop they began damaging equipment. Fire extinguishers were also let off, the court was told.

The judge heard that €6,300 worth of damage was caused.


KEYWORDS: Courts

 

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