A Longford teenager before the courts on knife possession and imitation firearm charges has been released from custody after spending the past three weeks in a detention centre for breach of bail, writes Liam Cosgrove.
The juvenile, who turned 17 last month, was given a stern warning by Judge Seamus Hughes of the ramifications which awaited him should he come to any further garda attention in the meantime.
The court was initially charged with the possession of a knife at College Park, Longford on November 8, 2019 and an imitation firearm at Templeogue Terrace, Longford on July 22, 2020.
He was ordered to spend a period of time in detention following concerns relating to the teenager’s adherence to his bail.
His solicitor John Quinn said his client had been advised he faced a three month sentence rising to a six month term after Judge Hughes “upped the stakes” in warning him of his future conduct.
The court also heard the juvenile, who was accompanied by his mother, was part of a large locally based family that were currently in talks with local authority officials to try and source alternative housing outside of Longford.
Mr Quinn said one of the main reasons for this was due to the challenges the family were facing in dealing with the likes of anti-social behaviour and petty theft.
He also added the teenager’s father was currently very ill but was intent on securing admission to an educational programme which could pave the way towards possible job creation.
The court also heard from the boy who insisted he remained focused on turning his life around.
“You told me if I got into any more trouble I would get a six month sentence and I haven’t got any more charges,” he told Judge Seamus Hughes.
In addressing the firearm charge specifically, the teenager said: “The imitation firearm was a plastic pellet gun you can buy in any shop.”
Judge Hughes said he was willing to give the teenager a chance to prove himself but cautioned him of how a six month spell in detention awaited him should any further issues arise in terms of his behaviour.
“All I want to do is to change my life,” the boy said in response.
In acceding to granting bail, Sgt Paddy McGirl said gardaí were anxious for certain conditions to be attached.
They included a 10pm to 7am curfew and to provide a mobile phone number while remaining contactable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The case was adjourned to March 23 with liberty to re-enter.
In doing so, Judge Hughes said he wanted the teenager to continue engaging with probation services and follow whatever supporting advice is handed down.