Judge imposed sentence on 16-year-old with ‘deep regret’ but felt she’d no option
By Sonya McClean
A 16-year-old boy has been imprisoned after a judge said she felt she had no option because of the lack of adult supervision in his life.
Judge Melanie Greally heard that the teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, had no one in court to support him and has no appropriate adult in his life since his mother died five years ago.
The teenager had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to burglary at The Avenue, Belgard Heights, Tallaght, Dublin on June 7, 2015. He had previous convictions for burglary and possession of drugs.
The boy and an accomplice were hiding under a blanket in the house they had broken into when gardaí found them.
Judge Greally said it was with “deep regret” that she was imposing two-and-half years detention, but she said she felt she had no option.
She said she hoped that the “level of stability” the teenager would get in a custodial environment would better equip him to deal with life on his release.
The judge suspended the last 18 months on strict conditions including that he engage with the Probation Service and attend for any alcohol and drug therapy it recommends.
“Hopefully the time you spend in custody will help you get things back on track,” Judge Greally said to the boy after he entered his bond.
Garda Colin Hetherington told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting that there was a woman and a young baby in the house at the time of the burglary.
The woman heard the sitting-room window being smashed in and went downstairs to see the teenager and another man coming into the house carrying sticks and weapons. She knew the teenager.
She heard one of them say “I’m gonna cut her up if I get up to her”, but she didn’t know which of the intruders it was.
Garda Hetherington said the woman was so terrified that she got out of the house through a skylight, onto a roof and then jumped down into her neighbour’s garden.
The gardaí were called and later found the teenager and the other man hiding under a blanket on a mattress in a converted attic. They were both arrested. The co-accused has since taken a bench warrant.
Garda Hetherington agreed with Michael Hourigan BL, defending that there was no one in court to support his client and that his mother died when he was 11 years old.
Mr Hourigan told Judge Greally that his client said it was the other man who made the threat.