Judge orders child welfare assessment of 13-year-old girl following 'theft after theft'

A judge has directed Tusla Child and Family Agency to carry out a welfare assessment for a 13-year-old girl who has been unsupervised in Dublin city-centre and arrested for “theft after theft”.

Garda Elaine Holmes told Dublin Children's Court today that she arrested the teenager on Wednesday afternoon.

The girl is charged with stealing baby food worth €80 and a pack of vitamins from a Boots store Dublin city-centre.

The teenager had been given bail by the juvenile court earlier that day in relation to other theft allegations.

Judge John O'Connor said he could impose a parental supervision order on the mother, a non-national, who has already been warned about the frequent arrests of the girl as well as another daughter.

He said it raised welfare issues and while the out-of-school girl still has the presumption of innocence it was hard not to realise the teen was being sent out “to work and it is all part of normal life and that is very upsetting in 2016.

He said the girl and a sister are continually coming before the court and the mother did not seem to understand that her children needed to be supervised.

She also said “no” when asked if she understood that she risked having her children taken into care.

“This goes beyond a normal criminal case,” he said, adding, “the fact that I have a 13-year-old in with bench warrants and theft after theft charge, she might get off on some of them, but she [the mother] has two daughters in this court almost on a daily basis at this stage,” he said.

He adjourned the case until a date next month for directions from the DPP to be obtained and for the Child and Family Agency to carry out a welfare assessment of the family.

The girl was granted bail but ordered to obey conditions including a curfew and a ban from going to parts of the city-centre.

KEYWORDS: court, crime, children


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