The grandmother of a 15-year-old boy who attacked his care worker while on a trip to Mayo explained that both his parents were drug addicts and his mother was ‘using’ when expecting him.
The teenager, who has 34 previous convictions, appeared before Westport Children’s Court, where he admitted assaulting his care worker while on an excursion to the Delphi Adventure Centre on July 28, 2016.
The court heard that the boy was just 13 years old at the time and was serving a sentence at the Children’s Detention Centre in Oberstown when they visited the Delphi Adventure Centre.
Inspector Gary Walsh explained that the youth, who cannot be named due to his age, assaulted his care worker by punching him in the face and ribs and also used a sweeping brush as a weapon against him. Insp Walsh said the care worker suffered bruising to his arm and legs but did not require medical treatment.
The boy, who is from Co Louth, committed the majority of his offending between April 2016 and November 2016 and was released from Oberstown in September.
Judge Mary Devins was told that the youth lives with his grandmother and his two older siblings while his mother lives with a younger daughter in the same town.
His grandmother told Judge Devins that his mother was a heroin addict and that his father died in 2009 from a drug overdose. She said the boy was only a year-and-a-half old when he and his two older siblings went to live with her.
She said the boy suffers from ADHD and has been diagnosed with abandonment issues, and that he did not attend a proper class in national school until he went into sixth class. She said this was a big change for him, that he could not keep up, and that he became the ‘class clown’.
The grandmother explained that she had ten children and her daughter was the only one with a drug problem. The boy’s two siblings were never in trouble, she said.
When the boy was asked why he assaulted the care worker, he initially replied ‘I don’t know’, but later stated that they had had a disagreement.
Since he was released in September, the court heard that the boy is home-schooled three days a week and is met by a probation worker for two of those days. However, he said he does not always stay at home for the teacher and instead goes ‘up the town’ for the day with his friends.
He told the court he did not want to go back to Oberstown but was warned by Judge Devins that it was time he shaped up or shipped out. She described his grandmother as ‘an unsung heroine’ and said he was very lucky to have her.
Judge Devins directed the preparation of a new probation report, but warned the boy that if it was negative, she was not afraid to sign the order to return him to Oberstown. She said his future was entirely up to him, before wishing the boy and his grandmother a happy Christmas and adjourning finalisation until April 12, 2018.