A 13--year-old orphan - described by his solicitor as "just a wee boy who looks as if he's just nine years old" - was remanded in custody at the Magistrate's Court in Londonderry yesterday after the District Judge ruled he was out of control.
A police officer told District Judge Nigel Broderick that the boy was a member of a “gang of youths terrorising members of the public in the city centre”.
The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, admitted assaulting a man outside an off-licence in Sackville Street last Friday night and attempting to steal cigarettes and money from his victim.
He also admitted seven different breaches of his bail conditions, which had been imposed at previous court hearings, including one at the High Court in Belfast last Friday - just hours before he carried out the attack.
Objecting to bail, the police officer said the boy had an appalling record in terms of breaching court bail conditions.
He said last Friday night, the youth was among a group of children “terrorising people in the city centre”.
It was outside of the boy’s curfew time and in an area the youth is banned from entering.
The officer said eight young males, among them the youth, surrounded a man outside the off-licence demanding money and cigarettes.
The man gave the youths some cigarettes and cash, but then they grabbed him and put their hands in his pockets.
“The injured party grabbed one of the youths and told him to get his hands out of his pockets and the defendant swung at him, punching him on the right eye,” the officer said.
“A woman got involved to help the injured party and the police were called and the defendant was later arrested on the Peace Bridge. He is simply out of control.”
Applying for bail, solicitor Seamus Quigley said the youth “is just a wee boy who looks as if he’s just nine years old”.
“He is an orphan who has been living in a children’s home. His mother and father, who were both chronic alcoholics, are both deceased. He has told me he is concerned about going into custody,” he said.
The District Judge said he was refusing bail because there was a risk of the youth further offending and because of his appalling breach of bail history.
“It gives me no pleasure to do this but you are a young person who is out of control,” Mr Broderick told the youth.
“You were given a last chance warning at the High Court last Friday and you have ignored numerous opportunities.
“You appear to be beyond the control of the social workers who are looking after you in the absence of any parental or family control.”
The youth was remanded in custody until April 7.