Teen given deferred sentence because detention centres full

Judge imposed detention order as last resort because boy showed ‘no remorse’

A 16-year-old burglar has been given a “deferred sentence” after a court heard detention centres were full.

The teenage boy had been convicted at the Dublin Children’s Court on a number of charges including assault and burglary, but was told to come back in December to see if his six-month term can be activated then.

The boy told the court he wanted his case finalised even though that meant a custodial sentence and he said he did not want to engage with the Probation Service which had been trying to assist him.

Judge John O’Connor told defence counsel Damian McKeone that imposing a detention order was a last resort but the boy had shown no remorse.

Bravado The judge said that as a result of the boy's lack of engagement with the Probation Service, there was be no point in imposing a suspended sentence.

He told the teenager that custodial sentence meant his freedom would be curtailed and asked him: “Are you sure you want that?”

Sighing, the teen replied: “Yeah.”

When the judge asked the boy’s mother to talk to him, she shook her head and said: “He won’t listen.”

The judge said bravado was involved and when he asked the boy if he would change his mind and agree to an adjournment, the boy sitting with his arms folded sternly answered, “finalise it”.

However, at the point of passing sentence, the judge was told that detention centres for the boy’s age-group were full.

Deferred detention Judge O'Connor said he had to make a deferred detention order under section 144 of the Children Act and imposed a six-month sentence.

Despite getting a custodial sentence, the teen was let go and told he will have to come back in four weeks to see if there will then be a space available in either the Trinity House or Oberstown detention centres, in north Dublin.

The youth’s offences were committed in north and west Dublin earlier this year. They included a burglary at a community resource centre in March, a motor theft in June, theft of baby food worth €85 and a public order incident in June.

The court also heard that the boy assaulted a shop worker in August.

While waiting for a place in the detention centre, the teen must abide by conditions including a curfew and attend a training course.