Belfast Telegraph

Teen boy accused of threatening social worker with fork remanded in custody

By Alan Erwin

A 14-year-old boy accused of threatening to plunge a fork into a social worker's eye and sexually assaulting another youth must remain in custody, a High Court judge ruled today.

The teenager also allegedly subjected his fellow children's home resident to a course of sexual harassment.

Refusing bail, Lord Justice Deeny held that he should be kept in a juvenile justice centre to ensure public protection.

The accused, who cannot be identified because of his age, is charged in connection with two separate incidents at the home in Co Down.

He faces counts of common assault and possession of an offensive weapon with intent to commit an indictable offence last Saturday.

A social worker informed police he had held a fork close to her face and threatened to stick it through her eye, the court heard.

Crown lawyer David McClean said the teenager was arrested and expressed remorse, telling police he had a problem with his temper.

Mr McClean also disclosed details of earlier incidents for which the defendant is charged with harassment and sexual assault.

It was claimed that between June and November last year he made a number of sexualised comments towards a 15-year-old boy in the home.

On one occasion he allegedly whispered: "I want to have sex with you."

According to the prosecution the complainant turned his television up to block out the remarks.

Other alleged episodes involved trying to touch the 15-year-old's private parts.

The accused later admitted making the comments but denied any sexual assault.

Describing his client as "very vulnerable", defence counsel Conor Lunny argued that it was a question of whether he should return to the home or remain incarcerated.

But citing the terms of legislation covering children in the criminal justice system, Lord Justice Deeny denied bail at this stage.

He ruled: "It's necessary to remand him in custody to protect the public."

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