Judge tells 15-year-old he’s ‘very pleased’ with his progress
A 15-year-old male who is charged with a range of offences including false imprisonment, burglary, theft and assault causing harm has been remanded on continuing bail.
The 15-year-old, who cannot be named as he is underage, appeared before Galway Circuit Court on Wednesday, December 19 last after the matter was previously adjourned on Friday, November 9.
There, Judge Gerard Griffin was told of the offences the youth had committed in Westport between June 2011 and February last.
The charges included stabbing a 16-year-old male three times; two other assaults; a series of burglaries; colliding with a garda patrol car and false imprisonment of a woman.
The false imprisonment was of Ann Nally, a 64-year-old woman, which took place on June 9, 2011.
The defendant locked her in her room and a victim impact statement from Ms Nally was read to court on November 9. The court was told that Ms Nally was told by the youth that she was ‘f***ing dead’ if she tried to ring anyone. She had just had a hip operation two weeks previously.
Ms Nally said she now felt like ‘a prisoner in my own home’ and that she came to Westport five years ago wanting a better life but could not sell now as she would suffer a huge loss on what she paid.
The youth was remanded on bail to last week on strict bail conditions.
They included not returning to Westport; not involve himself in any criminal activity; abstain from drugs and alcohol; remain at Áras na Gael youth centre in Salthill and attend Dóchas an Óige training centre.
Last week Judge Gerard Griffin read updated reports from the youth’s social worker and probation officer which he said were ‘tending to be positive’.
Sergeant Denis Harrington told the court that, after Ms Nally’s victim impact statement was read to court on the previous occasion, the youth had written a letter apologising to her. Sergeant Harrington said that he spoke to her the night before court last week and she was still ‘extremely traumatised’ by what had happened on June 9, 2011 and hasn’t opened the letter.
“Right now, words mean nothing to her but, if, in the fullness of time, he has turned a corner, she may be willing to accept an apology,” Sergeant Harrington said.
Defending barrister Eoin Garavan, instructed by Niamh Bambury, said that the youth has continued membership of a boxing club who described him as someone ‘with potential’ and ‘a pleasure to deal with’ and that there were no problems with staff and tutors at Dóchas an Óige, where the youth is receiving education. Mr Garavan asked for a further adjournment to assess the youth’s continued behaviour.
Judge Griffin agreed with that view, saying that he hoped that, ‘in the fullness of time’, the strict terms of bail can be eased and he behaves without the need for strict conditions hanging over him.
He adjourned the matter to January 22 in Castlebar on the same bail conditions and told the youth that he gave Ms Nally ‘an awful fright and ruined her life’ and it was up to him to show improvement. He said the youth had ‘pushed the boundaries’ and warned him that if he came back into court for committing any criminal offence, he would be going to jail for a ‘very long time’.
“You’re doing well, I’m very pleased with your progress,” said Judge Griffin.
The youth was also granted leave to spend the nights of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his brother in Ballinasloe, providing he complies with all other of the conditions imposed on November 9.