The parents of a young adolescent who turned up in court without either of them were slammed by the judge at Naas District Court on December 1.
The boy, who turned 14 three months ago, cannot be named because of his age, was instead accompanied by a peace commissioner.
The court heard that the boy’s father is in the west of Ireland and his mother was at home minding his numerous siblings.
The teen appeared before Judge Desmond Zaidan having been arrested by Garda Stokes who told of taking him to a garda station where he made no reply to an allegation of possessing stolen property after a spate of thefts in the area where he lives.
The value of the items is about €500.
The boy was accompanied by the peace commissioner in the garda station and he was provided with breakfast.
Garda Stokes said the matter could have been dealt with by a juvenile liaison officer, who deals with young people who come into contact with the law, but the boy refused this.
He also said an older sister could have to come to court instead but the boy's mother did not want this.
The court also heard that the parents refused to engage with the issue and Tusla, the child and family agency, is engaging with the family.
Defending solicitor David Powderly said the case could have been addressed by way of a caution if the parents had cooperated.
He also said the defendant is a second year student whose favourite subject is woodwork.
Judge Zaidan said the absence of either parent was unacceptable and “nothing can justify that.”
He added: “You have to ask questions about eh parents’ mindset; it’s not good enough, it's appalling. He’s a child basically, what hope has he got?”
Noting that the teen was crying, the Judge said he should not be before the courts but in school with his friends and playing sports.
He told the boy there is a fine line between being boisterous and criminality and told him “I’ll help you if you help me, if you don’t you’ll hate me.”
The court heard that the gardaí had no objection to bail and the defendant was freed on condition that he reside at home and observe a curfew between 8pm and 7am.
The judge directed that Tusla liaise with the family while the boy is living with them.
If the boy did not observe the conditions he said he would send him to the Oberstown detention centre.
“Turn your life around or you will become a criminal.”
He said he wanted one of the parents in court and said it was their responsibility to attend, not the peace commissioner whom he thanked for being there.
The case was adjourned to December 9.
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