28 Jun 2022

Teen on Longford school violent disorder charge praised over attempts to turn his life around

Longford Courthouse.

A teenager accused of being among a seven person gang that committed violent disorder at a Longford secondary school last year has been commended for the way he has attempted to turn his life around

A teenager accused of being among a seven person gang that committed violent disorder at a Longford secondary school last year has been commended for the way he has attempted to turn his life around since the incident.

Angel Miranda (18), 48/49 Lower Main Street, Kilbeggan, Athlone, Co Westmeath first appeared in court last April following an incident that saw a secondary school principal attempt to wrestle an iron bar from a teenage pupil as the gang tried to attack a young boy.

Mr Miranda was back in court last Tuesday where it was detailed the south American native had since begun a new relationship and was fully intent on starting a new chapter in his life.

“I do have the mother of his partner in court and she has taken him into her custody,” said defence solicitor Frank Gearty.

“He has completely and entirely disassociated himself from the people that were involved.

“He came from Argentina with his mother and was taken into care at the age of 16 and ended up in not the best of company and he has now severed himself from all connections from the company he was getting into.

“He now has a girlfriend and a mentor,a young law student from the Co Westmeath area and her mother has come to court. She has also been involved in supporting him in getting him on the straight and narrow.”

His girlfriend’s mother accompanied Mr Miranda to court and stood patiently beside him during last week’s court hearing.
Sgt Darran Conlon, took to the witness box to relay his own take on the conduct of Mr Miranda since the St Mel’s College incident was first reported.

“There are seven defendants arrested in relation to the St Mel’s School violent disorder incident and of the seven defendants and I must say this man would stand out in terms of his level of cooperation and all the efforts he has made in a positive way in disassociating himself from the group,” he said.

Mr Gearty added that Mr Miranda had initially arrived into Ireland aged just 4, adding there were lingering and substantive issues which could yet jeopardise his association with Ireland.

“His mother came to Ireland when he was just 4,” said Mr Gearty.

“The matter is of huge regret to be tagging along in the shameful actions of the gang.

“He would be working if he was allowed but the problem is he is technically illegal in Ireland because he is a citizen of Argentina and the paperwork wasn’t regularised.

“He is desperately trying to get a letter and if he gets a solid offer he will be able to get work and if not he will have to go back to Argentina.”

The court was further informed of how Mr Miranda had been charged with the theft of a bike from a man in Edgeworthstown on August 26, 2021.

Sgt Mark Mahon, for the State, said the incident took place on Main Street in the town at around 2pm.

He said Mr Miranda is alleged to have “taunted” the victim before taking his bike during a skirmish that followed.

Sgt Mahon said follow up inquiries soon identified Mr Miranda as the chief suspect with the accused quickly admitting his guilt when officers called to his door.

“Gardaí carried out enquiries and established who took the property and called to Mr Miranda who was very cooperative,” he said.

“He admitted to stealing the bike and showed where he had hidden the bike.”

Mr Gearty said his client had not technically taken the bike, but due to judicial legislation had no choice but to admit his culpability over what had transpired.

“He took the bike which was parked outside SuperValu where the incident took place and he hid the bike in undergrowth nearby,” he said.

“Under the old Common Law theft that would maybe not have been theft at all as there was no taking but under the new Theft Act he is absolutely banged to rights because it is to deprive the owner of it which is enough.

“He is guilty and he accepts that.”

Judge Bernadette Owens took into account the mitigation presented by Mr Gearty, stating she would be adopting a “benign” view if Mr Miranda steered clear of trouble between now and the adjourned court date.

The case was deferred to December 6 next.

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