A JUDGE has warned a teenage boy if he doesn’t cop himself on he is a “short step away” from going to prison.
Judge Grainne O’Neill made her comments during a vacation sitting of Limerick court as gardai sought to revoke the youth’s bail.
The 16-year-old, who is in State care, is accused of a number of serious offences including violent disorder and criminal damage.
Making the application to revoke his bail, Sergeant Donal Cronin said gardai have concerns about the youth’s behaviour.
Garda Sean Buckley said the defendant, who is from the northside of the city, has been reported missing by social workers on 25 separate occasions since the beginning of June and he outlined six separate dates on which he breached his curfew by not returning to the residential care centre by 9pm.
He described the defendant as vulnerable and said he fears he is likely to get into trouble as he associates with certain individuals.
In his evidence, the youth accepted that on one date last month he stayed with a friend overnight as he had a fight with social workers and did not want to return.
He told his solicitor Sarah Ryan that on each of the occasions he was late returning it was not his fault as the social workers were unable to collect him when he called for a lift.
“The only time I would be late is when they don’t collect me,” he said. “When I ring for a lift they should have a car for me, they should have a car there to collect me whenever I call,” he said.
Despite the garda concerns, Judge O’Neill said she was “reluctantly” not going to accede to the application to revoke bail.
However, she warned the defendant that it is his responsibility to obey the conditions of his bail. “It’s for you to get yourself back in time,” she said.
She said prison is “not a nice place” but that he would most likely end up there are further breaches of bail .