A young man who was before Athy District Court on Tuesday, October 9 for entering a premises to commit theft was sentenced to five months at Oberstown Detention Centre.
The young man (17) who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to entering a shop and taking an iphone from the PC Unlock and Repair shop in Duke Street Athy on June 14, 2018.
The court heard that he was under the influence of drugs at the time.
There were a number of other similar charges that were all taken into account including on June 13, 2018 he stole a con saw from Laois Hire on the Kilkenny Road in Athy worth €800 and on the same day he entered a local chemsit and took €50 from a handbag.
The court heard that there was nobody else involved in the incidents and they were all carried out when he was under the influence of drugs.
The defendant told the court that he got in with an older crowd and started taking 'cannabis and tablets'. He said he didn't know what was in the tablets.
“Custody will not help me,” he said. “I can't stand the pressure of being locked away. It is not for me. I am trying to change my life - I don't hang around with bad company anymore.”
His mum told the court that her son needs help.
“He was hanging around with the wrong crowd,” she said.
Judge Desmond Zaidan asked the defendant's mother why she wasn't helping him?
“He can't read or write and he is 17 years of age,” Judge Zaidan said.
“How did that happen?”.
The court heard that the defendant had some learning difficulties and that he had attended a special school for a time.
“There is no history of self regulation - this comes from the home,” Judge Zaidan said.
The court heard that his parents are separated and the defendant had gone to live with his dad but soon after his dad was sent to prison.
The court was told that the defendant, who was remanded in custody for eight weeks on another matter, is high risk.
“I want to release him but to what,” said Judge Zaidan.
“I don't want to send him to prison. Once he is 18 he is not seen as a child anymore. We have a limited time to help him.”
It was agreed with the Probation Officer in court that a care plan be put in place to support the defendant.
The judge ordered an 18 month post release support be put in place for the defendant with the Probation Services.
The defendant told the court that he enjoys boxing and keeping fit. He said that his 16 year old girlfriend is pregnant.
“Do you want the same for your child? it is time to out smart the peer pressure,” said Judge Zaidan.
“This boy needs lots of help. I am giving you five months - if you behave well and engage with the services you will be out before Christmas.
“When you get out there is a plan in place to help you - stick to it.
“You are about to be a father - get a grip.
“It is time.”