A YOUTH from Rathkeale produced a hurley and smashed the window of the town’s post office during the course of a brawl on the street last summer, the local court has heard.
The 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named due to his age, has pleaded guilty to a number of offences relating to the dispute on Main Street, Rathkeale in the early hours of July 31, 2012.
However Newcastle West Court heard last Friday that the youth has failed to engage with the probation services since an earlier court hearing, and he has been warned that he could face up to three months in prison.
Supt Dan Flavin said that at 2.30am on the date in question gardai received a report of a fight on Main Street.
During the course of this disruption the youth “produced a hurling stick” as a weapon, and later “threw an object through the front window of the post office”, causing a total of €236 in damage.
The court heard that the youth has no previous convictions.
Solicitor Tom Kiely, defending, admitted that since the youth’s previous court appearance in December he has failed to co-operate with probation officers and “is trying the patience of the court”.
However Mr Kiely insisted that there are “complex issues” involved in the accused’s personal and family life that he is working to overcome.
Mr Kiely said that the defendant’s father passed away last year, while the youth’s “strained” relationship with his mother has forced him to leave the family home in Rathkeale. The youth is now living with his sister in county Clare, Mr Kiely added.
Mr Kiely said that while the youth’s addictions to drugs and alcohol are “the root of his problems”, the defendant has been “drug and alcohol free” in recent weeks and is making steady progress.
Mr Kiely added that his client “stayed out of trouble over Christmas” and that his relationship with his mother “is on the mend”.
These are both “very positive” developments, Mr Kiely told the court.
Supt Dan Flavin said that gardai would be willing to allow the case to be adjourned further, so that the accused could remain under the auspices of the probation service and his future progress can be monitored.
Judge Mary Larkin said that she would adjourn the case, but warned that she was of the mind to impose a three-month prison sentence, suspended for one year.
She then issued a stern rebuke to the youth, who was present in court, and warned him about his future: “I can’t have some young guy coming in here, ignoring the court and the laws of the land. If you had that, we’d have anarchy”, she said.
“This is your last chance. You need to cop on and wake up. If you don’t engage with the probation service, you will go to prison”.