Kildare man accused of Naas fires claims he is emotionally damaged by state care

Refused bail at Naas District Court

Email:

editor@leinsterleader.ie

Being in the state care system left me emotionally damaged, Kildare man accused of Naas fires claims

The case was heard at Naas District Court yesterday.

A young man who faces numerous charges of criminal damage in Naas was reluctantly refused bail by Judge Desmond Zaidan at Naas District Court yesterday, Wednesday, March 28.

The judge was shocked at details of Jason Crossan’s troubled life story, which includes a number of years in state care and being misdiagnosed and wrongly treated with medication for ADHD. He is 18 years old and has an address listed as 48 Sarto Park, Naas. 

It is alleged that on March 13 he damaged a parked car on Abbey Street, Naas and another in Basin Street. He is charged with three offences dating to March 14, including allegedly trespassing and breaking a glass panel in the door in the Post Office and with allegedly setting fire to the Forge Inn. 

It is alleged that on March 20 he set fire to the roof of the Caspo Centre, that he damaged three security cameras and window boxes on Main Street, Naas, that he allegedly smashed a window of O’Connor’s pub and set fire to a rubbish bin and smashed a window in Friary Road, as well as allegedly  setting fire to the cab of a crane, causing €90,000 worth of damage at the Mercy Convent Primary School.

It is alleged that on March 21 he damaged two wheelie bins on Main Street and allegedly  damaged a storage container causing €200 worth of damage at Supervalu, Naas.

At last Wednesday’s sitting he applied for bail through his solicitor Conal Boyce. He has been in custody since his arrest in Cloverhill. Mr Boyce explained to the court that Mr Crossan has no previous convictions. His parents both had an intellectual disability and his mother died when he was eight years old.

He was taken into care soon after and was misdiagnosed with ADHD. “His problems stem from his view that he was abandoned by his mother,” Mr Boyce told the court. The solicitor explained that when Mr Crossan turned 18 he was given “a present” by the state and sent on his way, with no support.

“Ironically Judge, we’re now being asked to keep him in the care of the state, albeit a different wing of the state.” He also noted that Mr Crossan’s co-accused was granted bail because he was eight months younger, and therefore a juvenile.

“The only reason Mr Crossan is not getting bail is that he is a few months older,” Mr Boyce noted. “He’s being penalised for being six months older. It’s unfair and it’s not justice.” He said that the week his client had spent on remand in Cloverhill had “taught him a lesson”.

Presenting the Gardai’s objection to bail, Srgt Jim Kelly said that while he had concern for the young man, he also had concern for the public. 

My Boyce downplayed the charge of damaging a crane, explaining, “there are three rustbuckets across the road for the past 10 years and they swing in the wind and make a lovely noise” he said referring to the unfinished Naas Shopping Centre.

Judge Zaidan described the situation as “depressing”. He was very critical of the state’s care of the young man and read from a letter from Mr Crossan which said that “being in the state care system for most of my life has left me emotionally damaged”.

Judge Zaidan said he believed that phrase should be printed and placed all over the offices of every state facility in the country. He wondered if anybody would be held accountable for the damage it had done to young people in his care. He said he was very concerned at the number of people coming before him who had been in state care. He told Bernard Morrin, whose organisation works with young people who have been in state care that “you come in where the state has miserably failed”.

Mr Morrin said he was quite optimistic of the progress that could be made with young people in this situation, and he was of the view that Mr Crossan was of a mind to reach out for help. “I’m not going to try your patience by trying to defend the state,” Mr Morrin said, “but Tusla does come to us.” He described Mr Crossan as an intelligent young man.

The judge said that he was caught between his heart and his head. “If I follow my heart I will release him,” he noted. In the end he was not satisfied that measures were in place to prevent Mr Crossan from leaving his father’s home after dark, and refused bail. “I’m refusing bail with a heavy heart,” he said. “It’s too high a risk to take.” And he told Mr Boyce that he would leave it open for him to apply again.