Teen’s psychiatric issues from cannabis use

Mullingar District Court has heard how a teenager may have developed psychiatric problems because of his cannabis use.

The minor, who is not being named for legal reasons, has been given until June 5 to give clean urine samples to show he is no longer on drugs.

He was before the court for criminal damage to a window at the county council’s offices in Mullingar on March 5, 2014. He was throwing stones, attempting to get them over the building, but, he said, one rock hit a tree and rebounded, shattering a €4,500 double glazed pane of glass.

He said he was not aiming for the glass, solicitor Patricia Cronin said, adding that his behaviour had been reckless but not malicious.

There were other youths present, but they were not throwing stones, the court heard.

When asked by the judge what the boy needed, his father suggested psychiatric help, and Ms Cronin said there had been no psychiatric issues before he began taking cannabis.

He gave a urine sample a week ago but Ms Cronin said the boy believed it would have been contaminated.

It takes a month for cannabis to leave the system.

Judge Hughes said the case was disappointing, that the boy had caused a large amount of damage, and the only person who seemed to care is his father.

“This gent doesn’t care at all. He’s showing no nervousness,” he told Ms Cronin, who disagreed, saying she had spoken to the young man earlier and that he is concerned for his future.

The incident occurred while the boy was on bail for another offence, but Inspector Folan said gardaí weren’t requesting custody because the boy’s father came to the station immediately after he was arrested and stayed with him throughout questioning.

The new and old charges have been adjourned to June 5 for clear urinalysis, but Judge Hughes issued a stern warning.

“You’ll go to prison if you step out of line and don’t have clean urines,” he said, but added that he didn’t think he was getting through to the boy.

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