Boy in Letterkenny burglary spree warned he will serve six months

July 26, 2021

A boy who went on a burglary spree has been told by a Judge that if he sees him in court again he will serve a six-month sentence in a detention centre.

The boy, who cannot be named, appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court on a number of burglary and criminal damage charges.

The boy has already served terms of detention at Oberstown House in Dublin for a spate of similar offences in Letterkenny.

He was charged with a number of new offences including break-ins at Saffron Hair and Beauty Clinic in Letterkenny, the Carry-Out Off-License and Cooney’s Home and Garden Centre in Letterkenny.

He is also charged with using a stolen AIB debit card at Kernan’s Spar SHop at Lower Main Street also in Letterkenny.

The boy pleaded guilty to all offences.

Barrister for the boy, Mr Peter Nolan said the accused was under the influence of a number of older people when the crimes were carried out.

He admitted his client had been sentenced in the District Court for a number of offences and was due to be released from that detention period on July 27th.

Mr Nolan added that after facing the current charges his client will then have a “clean slate.”

Mr Jason Doherty, a youth worker with Donegal Youth Services said he had known the boy for three years.

He said the boy had engaged well in education while in detention and had shown a real interest in mechanics.

Subject to finding he said he was confident a place could be found on a course in mechanics in Letterkenny for the boy.

He said he had “massive potential” and that he had witnessed a big change in the attitude of the boy.

A Probation Report on the boy said there was a moderate risk of reoffending but he needs to make better use of his time and engage with all agencies.

The boy himself, who appeared by videolink, said he was aware of his crimes and that he knew he was out of hand in everything he had done.

He added that he has matured and that he had a family at home and it wasn’t right for him to be in detention saying they have suffered as a result of his actions also.

He said he had also become interested in fitness and health while in detention and wanted to complete an Ironman Race when he got out.

His barrister Peter Nolan added that while he personally will not be in the courts in ten years time, this young man had a chance to get his life back on track and not to come before the courts again and again.

“He is a likeable young man who needs an opportunity to get his life back on track. I think he has a chance,” he added.

Passing sentence Judge John Aylmer said his colleague in the District Court Judge Paul Kelly had given the boy many chances but that he had been let down.

He said each of the charges deserved a sentence of 12 months before mitigation.

However, he had pleaded guilty and he pointed to the evidence of youth worker Jason Doherty who said there had been a genuine turnaround in the boy’s attitude.

He reduced the sentence to one of nine months and backdated it to April when the boy went into custody on the charges.

However, he said he was going to take a chance on the boy but leave a six month detention period hanging over him for 12 months after he is released from Oberstown House.

He warned him to abstain from alcohol and drugs, not to commit any other offence and mix with anyone with a criminal record.

“If I see you in this court again I will not give you a chance,” warned the Judge.

The boy replied “I can assure you, you will never see me again.”