Judge warns child thief

A young offender who chose to stop taking his hyperactivity medicine, was warned in court this week (March 3 ) that despite his age, room could be found in Oberstown Boys’ Centre if he continued to behave in this fashion.

“If you think the word may be around town that there’s no place for under 16s, then think again. Oberstown can find a place for you,” Judge John Neilan warned a 15-year-old Athlone boy before him on a raft of theft and burglary charges.

The boy, who attended court from Garda custody and was accompanied by his mother, admitted he had stopped taking his Ritalin prescription for his attention defecit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD ), despite his mother saying he was a much more mannerly person when he took it.

“Why did you stop taking it? If you want to set yourself up as a doctor you may, but you will be sent to Oberstown Boys Centre [the national detention centre for under 18s based in north county Dublin],” said the judge.

Gardai told the court the offences had occurred between August and November in a number of shops, homes and institutions around the town but that no plea had yet been entered by the boy.

“Nobody is brought to this court until the junior liaison officer (JLO ) is worn to a thread,” said the judge. (The JLO is the garda officer tasked with dealing with juveniles and keeping them as best they can out of the adult criminal system. )

“To the junior liaision officer’s wisdom you have turned a deaf ear.”

The judge asked the boy’s mother if she knew where he went when he went out and she said she didn’t. The judge warned her that even with a 9pm to 7am curfew in place on her son, she would have to make it her business to know where he was at all times. The judge then returned to the boy.

“If you’re found associating with any known drug users or hanging on the Shannon banks drinking cans of beer or lager, I can assure you you will be on your way to Oberstown within four hours,” said the judge.

The judge remanded the boy on continuing bail until March 10.

“Does he ever come home drunk?”’ the judge asked the mother.

“He does, your honour,” said the mother.

“These are things you’ll have to address,” said the judge.


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