Director of Public Prosecutions -v- A.B.

JudgeO'Connor John J.
Judgment Date02 October 2017
Neutral Citation[2017] IEDC 12
Case OutcomeApproved
CourtDistrict Court (Ireland)
[2017] IEDC 12
1. The c hild defendant [AB] was born in 2000 and is now aged 17 years. His initials for the proposes for this written judgement have
been changed t o protec t his anonymity due to the fac t that only a small number of c hildren are at any time detained in special c are
2. AB is currently residing in residence which is run by a c haritable organisation. This is a placement organised by T usla [“the Child
and Family Agency”]. The s ervices provided offer a highly individualised developmental programme that supports his progression
towards adulthood and endeav ours to equip him with the necess ary skills needed for positive self-c are, independent living and social
integration. The plac ement involves a tailored daily plan which AB believes meets his needs and he has a positive relationship with the
staff of the residence.
3. AB has very supportive and st able parents who have struggled to manage their child’s significant needs part icularly as he entered
adolescenc e.
4. AB also has a good relationships with his guardian ad litem, social worker and key workers. He has had the benefit of a wide range
of professionals such a s an addict ion counsellor. speech and language spec ialists and mental health professionals. AB has engaged in
risk taking behaviour and in particular has been reported as Absent at Risk [AAR] on several occasions whic h puts a s train on his
maintaining his placement. However he has also demonstrated a good awareness of identifying issues triggering his anger, physical
aggression and regulation of his emotions.
5. AB has a diagnosis of:
Autism Spectrum Disorder [ASD], a neurological, dev elopmental disorder which affe cts how c hildren communicat e,
socialise and interact with others;
Oppositional Defiant Disorder [ODD], a patt ern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behaviour, or vindictiveness
lasting at least six months;
Attent ion Deficit Hyperact ivity Disorder [ADHD], which is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inatte ntion
and/or hyperactivity- impulsivity that interferes with f unctioning or development; and
Conduct Disorder [CD], an emotional disability charact erized by an inability to build or maintain satisfa cto ry interpersonal
relationships with peers and/or teac hers.
6. As a result of his diagnosis AB has severe difficulties managing his feelings and behaviours. He has a background history of below
average intellectual ability, spe ech and language impairment and dyslexia. He has a history of violent a nd aggressive behaviour and
has experienced emotional disability and suicidal ideation in the pas t.
7. AB was tried in the Children Court in the summer 2017 in respect of the following charges:
Garda AOR
Three c riminal damage charges c ontrary to sect ion 2(1) of the Criminal Damage Act 1991 while residing at a c are home in
the Spring of 2016;
Garda KC
One assault c harge causing harm charges contrary t o section 3 of t he Non –Fatal Offenc es Against the Person Ac t 2017
in the Spring of 2016 while residing at Spec ial Care Unit;
Garda KD
Two as sault charges c ausing harm charges contrary t o sec tion 3 of t he Non –Fatal Offenc es Against the Person Ac t 2017
in the summer of 2016 while residing at Spec ial Care Unit; and
Garda SM
A failure to appear at the Children Court contrary t o sec tion 13(1) of t he Criminal Justice Ac t 1984 [as amended by
sect ion 23 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007] while residing at a Special Care Unit.
There were also a number of c harges against AB which we re dismissed on their merits.
Special Care Units
8. Acc ording to the c riteria for appropriate use of “Spe cial Care” homes [“Special Care Units”] in a report [“ t he HSE Document”] by
the Health Service Executive [“t he HSE”] dated 15th September, 2008, it states :
“Special Care Units are fac ilities where young people who are in need of special c are or protect ion are placed wit h the
explicit objective o f providing a stabilising period of short t erm care which will enable a young person to return to less

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