Teen burglar gets probation

Judge John O’Connor heard at the Dublin Children’s Court that the teenager, who has been getting help for his drug problem, has continued to make progress and has not come to further garda attention.

Judge O’Connor placed him on supervised probation for six months. He had said the boy’s crime was very serious and in November he had adjourned the case until today to monitor how well the 15-year-old schoolboy behaved over the Christmas period.

The boy pleaded guilty to a burglary at Ashton Green, Swords in north Dublin on the afternoon of October 7 2013.

After the 15-year-old boy entered an unoccupied house by forcing open a ground floor window, “he stole items to the value of €1,740,” the court was told.

Some of the stolen property was found in a field close to the house, Judge O’Connor heard.

In November a probation report stated the teen’s drug problems and negative peer group were factors in him being a “border-line, moderate risk of re-offending”.

The report had also stated the schoolboy realised his behaviour was wrong and he has been making efforts “to address his offending”. At first he had been slow to co-operate but engagement improved and he also demonstrated excellent leadership qualities.

The youth, who had been placed last year for another offence, had very supportive parents who did not condone his criminal activities, Judge O’Connor had said. He also noted today the teen’s mother accompanied him every time his case was before the court.

The judge had also said he noted the offence happened in 2013 and the house was not occupied at the time of the break-in.

Over recent months the boy continued co-operating with the Probation Service, kept going school and to a personal development and drug abuse treatment programme.

For the next six months he must keep following the directions of the Probation Service to help divert him from re-offending. Otherwise the case could be brought back to court and tougher sentence including a term in a detention centre could be imposed.