Saturday 21 September 2019

I don't have a drug problem, says gun threat teen


A TEENAGER who broke into Wexford Vocational College and pointed a gun at the vice-principal after drinking and taking LSD tablets, does not believe he has a problem with alcohol or drugs, Wexford District Court heard.

The boy who cannot be named because he is underage, appeared on remand before Judge Donnchadh O Buachalla on Monday after being charged several months ago with threatening to kill Patrick Lacey and stealing from the school.

The charges arose from an incident in the early hours of Saturday August 14 last year, when the 15year old defendant broke into the school, armed with a handgun and an iron bar.

At a previous sitting of the court, Judge O Buachalla refused to accept jurisdiction, due to the seriousness of the charges and referred the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The court had heard that the viceprincipal Mr. Lacey responded to an alarm call and found the defendant climbing out of a window. When confronted, the teenager threatened to kill the vice-principal.

When gardai called to the scene, they located the teenager hiding behind a wall on Lower Abbey Street. The gun was still in his hand and there were three laptop bags around his neck.

When he appeared at the District Court on Monday, Caitriona Walsh, solicitor for the HSE, said he was in voluntary care with the HSE since December 2 last.

Judge O Buachalla remarked that he had refused jurisdiction and a book of evidence was being prepared in the case.

Ms. Walsh said the youth had received a six-month detention and supervision order. He served three months detention and was now under the supervision of the probation service.

Ed King, solicitor for the accused, said his client was currently on bail and wanted to stay with an aunt outside the county, rather than remaining in voluntary HSE care.

Ms. Walsh, for the HSE, said there was a difficulty with this suggestion, in that his aunt would have to be approved as a foster carer. It might not be a long-term option.

Inspector Pat McDonald said the gardai still had concerns. He revealed that there was a file on another serious matter with the DPP, from around the same time.

'It appears he is causing trouble everywhere he goes,' said the Judge.

The teenager said he was no longer hanging around with the friends he had been keeping company with. 'I don't want to be like them anymore. I want to go back to school. I don't feel the need to go around abusing alcohol and narcotics. I'd like to settle down with my aunt.'

Ms. Walsh said his aunt had been very good but taking the teen on was a huge responsibility, due to the difficulties he had.

Addressing the defendant, Judge O Buachalla said he believed that two weeks ago, he took a pick-axe from the office of the HSE residential centre and refused to return it and on December 28, that there was a further incident where he was going around with cans of aerosol.

The defendant replied that he was on medication that didn't suit him. 'I was just kicking up a fuss,' he said.

'It seems to me that you need further help,' said the Judge.

Ms. Walsh said the residential centre terminated his placement because they were unable to help him and the HSE could not say his aunt would be able to help him.

'I want to deal with everything,' said the defendant. 'I will co-operate fully,' said the defendant. 'I want to make the best of this and prove to you that I do want to move on.'

Ms. Walsh said the defendant claimed he didn't have a problem with alcohol or drugs but it was one of the main issues.

The court was told that the defendant's legal guardian was not present .

Judge O Buachalla said a decision would have to be made today, otherwise he would have to remand him in custody.

He postponed the case to the afternoon when it was agreed between the parties that the defendant should stay with his aunt. The case was adjourned to February 7.

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