Teenager arrested while awaiting secure care placement – 2015vol3#30

The Dublin District Court heard that a teenager awaiting secure care for a number of weeks had been arrested for theft and a Section 4 assault.

The week previously, the court had heard that a District Court judge had listed the case to come in on a weekly basis pending the allocation of a secure care placement for the minor. In the meantime, the court heard that he was staying in a residential unit which was not a high support unit. However the unit had informed the CFA that it would be more appropriate for the boy to remain there until his place in secure care was allocated, in order to minimise the number of moves he would have to make.

The court also heard that although a placement in secure care had become free during that week, another minor was allocated the bed because this child had been placed lower down the list as his behaviour had stabilised in the short term.

However within the same week he had absconded from his unit and gone into the city centre, eventually presented in a highly intoxicated state at a Garda Station. Members of his residential unit collected him and brought him to A&E.

One week later when the case returned to the District Court, the judge heard that the boy had been arrested and was due to appear in court on theft charges and a Section 4 assault on an elderly lady. He had been arrested but was currently back at his unit.

The judge said that it was a very serious matter involving a very vulnerable teenager, “a Section 4 assault is an extremely serious assault,” she commented. She wanted his entitlement to secure care assessed immediately “because the potential alternative is that he would end up in Oberstown [child detention campus, on criminal charges].”

The judge asked for the correct information in its fullest form to be made available that day to the Admissions and Discharge Committee for secure care. “His behaviour is such that he can’t manage it, there may need to be a Family Welfare Conference as a matter of urgency. I now have to take this matter very seriously,” she said.

“We would hope that his behaviour has escalated to the point where it would merit serious consideration,” said the guardian ad litem solicitor.