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21/09/2021

Longford teenager who caused €50,000 in damage to detention centre jailed for four years

Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced Ward to four years in prison with the final year suspended. She also ordered that he be under the supervision of the Probation Service for two years upon his release

A Longford teenager who caused over €50,000 worth of damage to Oberstown Children Detention Campus during four separate standoffs with staff when he was 16 has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Michael Ward (18) of Gleann Riada, Strokestown Road, Co Longford, spent two years in detention in Oberstown from the age of 15 and has 33 previous convictions, including theft, criminal damage, burglary, robbery and unauthorised taking of vehicles.

He appeared before Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he pleaded guilty to four counts of criminal damage to the centre in Lusk, Co Dublin on January 3, February 26, September 8 and October 31, 2016.

Two further counts of assault and theft were taken into account.

The Court heard that on one occasion Mr Ward set fire to a room in the detention centre and that during the four incidents the defendant caused damage to furniture, security doors and windows, a CCTV camera and electrical equipment.

Judge Patricia Ryan sentenced the defendant to four years in prison with the final year suspended. She also ordered that he be under the supervision of the Probation Service for two years upon his release.

Judge Ryan said the court was obliged to take into account the fact that the defendant was a child at the time but said the incidents were very violent and aggressive and must have caused “a high degree of anxiety among staff and other residents”.

She also took into account that they were not isolated incidents.

She noted that Mr Ward got on well in Oberstown overall, had made efforts to rehabilitate and had expressed remorse. She also accepted that he had the support of his grandmother.

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