A “highly vulnerable” teenager who threatened to kill his father with a bread knife in June, was jailed for a year this week (July 20 ) after the court exhausted all available options with regards to accommodation for the boy.
James “Smiley” O’Reilly (20 ), of no fixed abode, but formerly with addresses in Beechpark West and Alverno Drive, Willow Park, Athlone, attended court from custody where he has been since June 16, after having to have been restrained with pepper spray in his father’s garden whilst threatening to kill him.
“I see here he’d prefer a custodial sentence rather than take the tough course to better himself,” noted Judge Seamus Hughes, referring to a psychiatric report on O’Reilly that had been submitted to the court.
“He would be described as highly vulnerable ...from a very difficult background. It is a failure on his part to acknowledge or recognise what he is or what is ahead of him. If released, he’d have nowhere to go,” said O’Reilly’s solicitor, Mr Padraig Quinn, who also confirmed it was his client’s birthday.
“Would you go after your father with a knife again?” Judge Hughes asked.
“No. I’m not talking to him,” said O’Reilly.
“...and your mother?” asked the judge.
“50-50,” said O’Reilly, non-comittally, before asking to be sent to the Midlands Prison, where his brother is serving a sentence.
“Your client is not impressing me, Mr Quinn. I would be more inclined to release him if it wasn’t the last court in July, with no court in August,” said Judge Hughes.
He told O’Reilly he was facing a total of 21 months in prison, and asked him how he was feeling about that, but lamented his smiling response.
“I don’t think the elevator goes to the top floor. He’s only firing on three cylinders, not four. I’m not sure if that’s his fault or his upbringing,” said the judge, although he did acknowledge O’Reilly had claimed six honours in his Junior Cert, and that this could be checked at Mullingar Community College.
“He goes by the nickname ‘Smiley’, and it’s not hard to see why,” said Mr Quinn.
“No practical solution to his accommodation problem can be found,” he concluded.
With no practical alternative, Judge Hughes revoked the entire 10-month suspended sentence hanging over O’Reilly, and added two consecutive months on a public order charge, before backdating the entire sentence to June 13.
“You have some growing up to do - some maturity to obtain before I can release you,” Judge Hughes concluded.