Cork court: Teen (15) offers no apology for stealing car and motorbike

Cork court: Teen (15) offers no apology for stealing car and motorbike
The Courthouse at Anglesea StreetPicture: Eddie O'Hare

A 15-year-old who stole a motorbike and a car had no apology for the victims of his crimes and refused to have anything to do with the probation service.

He was sentenced to a total of six months in detention at Oberstown today and put on a six-month bond to be under the supervision of the probation service on his release from detention.

The case came before the Children’s Court at Cork District Court today where Judge Mary Dorgan sentenced the teenager.

His solicitor, Diane Hallahan, described the defendant’s family background as dire and he had no sense of responsibility.

Judge Colm Roberts commented when the defendant came before the juvenile court last week that the probation report was limited and would need to look into more background factors in advance of sentencing.

A probation officer was present in court today and she indicated that she had contacted the accused by telephone to Oberstown on Thursday and in effect there was nothing to add to the probation report.

Judge Dorgan said, “This young man does not want to engage with the probation service.” 

Ms Halahan said, “Immaturity, lack of education and no sense of responsibility – at this time he is unwilling to engage, it is very unfortunate. 

"He is anxious to deal with matters and receive his penalty. He is aware of the very serious risk (of further detention).

“He knows there must be punishment. He is easily led. 

"There is no familial responsibility in this man’s life. This makes life much more difficult for him.” 

The solicitor expressed the hope that he would avail of the many services available to him in educational and therapeutic terms at Oberstown. 

Ms Hallahan said that was to be hoped for the benefit of both the 15-year-old himself and society.

Inspector Brian O’Donovan said the defendant was driving a stolen car at Monastery Hill on January 12 and January 13, and before that he was driving a stolen motorbike back on September 30, 2019.

In both cases the vehicles were eventually recovered by the owners and had not been damaged.

Judge Dorgan asked if the defendant had written a letter of apology to the owners. 

Ms Hallahan said the teenager had not.

The judge backdated the overall sentence of six months to February 23 to mark the time 15-year-old had spent in custody.

If he appeals the sentence it will be in his bond of €100, with no cash lodgement required plus an independent surety of €250 with a €75 lodgement. 

Ms Hallahan said she would not be recommending an appeal but that she had been instructed to ask for recognisances to be set pending an appeal.

Inspector O’Donovan said that if he was appealing the sentence then a curfew from 10pm to 6am would be required. 

The judge said she would make that condition but added that she would prefer a 9pm curfew but this would require the teenager’s consent.

Ms Hallahan consulted briefly with the young defendant on this point and said he did not consent to making the curfew earlier.

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