Belfast Telegraph

11-year-old boy allegedly broke bail conditions to go to the circus

By Alan Erwin

An 11-year-old boy accused of targeting and abusing a man with learning difficulties flouted bail conditions to go to the circus, the High Court heard on Friday.

He absconded from his mother's home and had an electronic monitoring tag removed, a judge was told.

The child, who cannot be identified, faces charges of disorderly behaviour and attempted criminal damage to a house in Warrenpoint, Co Down.

Prosecution barrister Kate McKay alleged he was among six youths involved in the incident on March 31.

She said the group were shouting abuse at the property while a man in his late teens or early twenties with learning difficulties was inside.

The alleged victim knows the boy and saw him throwing stones at the window, the court heard.

Mrs McKay continued: "There was then a banging on the door, the injured party answered and (the defendant) was on the path making rude gestures and asking for a fight."

She claimed the victim chased the youths and managed to take possessing of a pen knife after it had been produced by another member of the group.

The 11-year-old was originally released from custody after admitting both charges, according to the prosecution.

But it was claimed that he has since repeatedly defied conditions.

"He absconded and I understand the electronic tag was removed at some stage from him," Mrs McKay contended.

Defence counsel Conor Byrne, instructed by solicitor John Rocks, argued that the child's mother had informed police every time he left home.

"For example, he indicated that he had gone to visit the circus," the barrister said.

Mr Byrne added that the week spent in the juvenile justice centre has been a "sobering experience" for his 11-year-old client.

Following submissions, Mr Justice Horner said: "The worrying thing is someone at such a young age would end up on the road to ruin."

But with the prosecution accepting bail should be granted again, he warned the child it was a "final chance".

Imposing a curfew, tagging and a ban on contact with any of the other youths, the judge told him: "If you're back before me again you won't be getting out, you will be in custody away from your mum."

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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