Mother had son prosecuted to get him mental health help

Boy (14) facing charges of arson, stealing car, criminal damage and threats to damage

Judge John O’Connor described the situation as a ‘sad indictment’.

Judge John O’Connor described the situation as a ‘sad indictment’.


A mother felt it necessary to have her 14-year-old son charged over a serious arson at her home after she met with “closed doors” when she tried to get him help for mental problems, a court has heard.

The teenager, now aged 15, appeared at the Dublin Children’s Court.

Judge John O’Connor described the situation as a “sad indictment” after the mother explained her son was a “danger to himself and others” and needed help.

The boy was charged with stealing his mother’s car, damaging it and driving without a licence or insurance on July 3rd. He was also charged with arson of a shed and the gable end of his home in Tallaght, criminal damage to a bedroom and threatening to damage to his father’s home on another date.

Detective Garda David Jennings told Judge John O’Connor the teenager made no reply after he was charged. There was no objection to bail with conditions.

The court heard the Director of Public Prosecutions has recommended trial on indictment, meaning it should go to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. However, the judge at the Children’s Court would have to rule on the trial venue issue.

Judge O’Connor was furnished with a letter from the boy’s mother who explained difficulties she had accessing support services for her son’s mental health problems.

Addressing the court, she told Judge O’Connor, “I felt at the time, I had no choice but to press charges to get help.”

“He was a danger to himself and others. I tried to access help previously but there was closed doors. Sorry I had to use the justice system but I had no choice.”

The teenager spoke once during the hearing saying “yeah” when Judge O’Connor remarked he had very serious issues that needed to be addressed. He was remanded on bail with conditions including a curfew and an order to co-operate with support agencies.