Boy who broke law 75 times jailed


A teenager with 75 convictions had a three-month suspended sentence activated by Judge William Earley in the Dublin Children's Court yesterday.

Aged 17, he was freed in July but was convicted for the 75th time two weeks ago. He then faced 19 charges - which he admitted - of being drunk and disorderly in public, theft, unlawful carriage in a stolen car, fighting on the streets and possession of a wheel brace for use in a burglary.

The youth told the court he had been out of his family home for 4½ years and in that time became addicted to ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, and lately he had become an alcoholic.

He blamed his circumstances and living on the streets for having broken the law so many times. His first conviction was when he was aged 14. Pleading for leniency, he said his girlfriend was expecting his child and he needed "something to look forward to".

After strong garda objections he was remanded in custody until yesterday for the furnishing of a report on his behaviour.

Probation and welfare workers recommended sending the boy to the Coolmine residential treatment centre - a non-secure unit, the court heard yesterday.

Bail was opposed by Garda Nicola Connolly, Store Street, who applied to have the boy's suspended sentence activated.

She also said the teenager had skipped court 34 times during the last two years, five times after he was given the suspended sentence in July, along with 13 crimes committed since then.

On July 22nd, he came to court with 54 convictions and was then facing six other charges for a series of public order offences. For that he was released on a three-month suspended sentence even though his mother, who was in court at the time, did not want to take him home.

He was ordered to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for two years and not commit further crimes or face prison. That evening he was arrested for being drunk and fighting with his girlfriend in O'Connell Street.

The youth sought bail again yesterday because he did not like being in St Patrick's Institution which he described as "not nice." However, Judge Earley activated the suspended sentence and backdated it to early October. The boy had been in custody since then.

He also ordered a probation and welfare service report to be furnished on November 28th to assess the boy's suitability to go to the Coolmine centre for drug treatment. This was the sanction recommended by the probation and welfare services on his latest convictions.