A Dublin youth who put his family "through the mill" from drug abuse and a terrifying arson at their home has a chance to avoid a custodial sentence for crack cocaine possession.
The then 16-year-old boy, who was searched in Tallaght in February 2020 and found with three deals of the drug worth €60, Judge Michele Finan heard at the Dublin Children’s Court on Friday.
Garda Eoghan Grant said it was regarded as being for personal use.
42 prior convictions
The youth, now 18, pleaded guilty, and the court heard he had 42 prior criminal convictions. They included an arson attack on his own home.
There were also multiple criminal damage and driving offences – including hit-and-run – and robbery, and one for drug possession.
In mitigation, defence counsel Grace Sullivan told the court the youth had struggled with addiction and trauma following a family tragedy.
The barrister said he overdosed in April. He was found on a street, and his mother said, "they nearly lost him".
The overdose became a "wake-up call" for the teen who had changed his life.
The court heard he had found a job and sought help from a project that helps troubled youths. He wanted a clean slate and offered to bring €100 to court for charity.
Addressing the court, the youth's mother detailed how she had "struggled" to get assistance for him for years.
When the arson happened, she would not stand bail for him so that he would be remanded to the Oberstown detention centre. "I was desperately seeking help for him; I couldn't get [him] help on the outside," she told Judge Finan.
Since his recent hospitalisation, he wanted to change, she added.
Judge Finan noted his prior convictions and remarked that they were an indicator of his behaviour. She told the youth he had put his mother and others "through the mill", but she noted he had taken steps.
She adjourned the case for six months and ordered that she would spare him another conviction and a sentence but only if there was an excellent probation report on him. Furthermore, he must bring €250 to court for charity.
"If you are telling me you are getting out of it, show me," she told him.
“I understand,” the teen replied.