Poorbox to fund teen’s martial art classes in attempt at rehabilitation

This article is from page 20 of the 2014-12-23 edition of The Clare People. OCR mistakes are to be expected so download the original SWF or the rendered page 20 JPG

AN Ennis teenager ordered by a Judge to take up a martial arts course part funded by the court poor box has been told to commit to the course or face a prison sentence.

The youth is before the court in relation to a number of offences including the unauthorised taking of a bike, thefts in Ennis and North Clare and interfering with the proper use of a vehicle.

The offences were committed when he was a minor.

At Ennis District Court last month, Judge Patrick Durcan allocated € 200 from the court poor box to fund a self defence course for the boy, who has now turned 18.

Money collected in the poor box is usually paid out to charities, voluntary groups and other community organisations at the end of the year.

Judge Durcan said he did not usually allocate money from the poor box for such purposes but said he was do- ing so in this case.

The teenager had previously told the court he had been unable to leave his home because of a dispute with another person.

Judge Durcan suggested it could be benef cial for the youth to do a self defence course.

Addressing Inspector Tom Kennedy, the Judge said, “I hope Inspector we won’t be rueing the day we did this”. “Its certainly a new departure”, replied Insp Kenendy.

The youth’s solicitor Daragh Hassett remarked, “We’re thinking outside the box here”.

Adjourning the case last month, Judge Durcan told the youth he would see him on December 17. “We might want an exhibition”, he added.

Judge Ducan told Mr Hassett he wanted a report on the next court date.

Addressing the accused, he said, “If I f nd you are not undertaking what you should be undertaking, I’ll deal with you”.

The teenager was back before Ennis District Court on Wednesday.

Mr Hassett explained his client attempted to enrol in one martial arts class in Ennis but the instructor would not take him when he heard the youth was involved in a court process. Mr Hassett said his client is conf dent of being accepted into another martial arts class.

“The thinking is to keep him physically f t and get him our of bed in the morning and not to be taking people out (in the street)”, Mr Hassett said of the court’s decision.

Judge Durcan adjourned the case to February and granted the State liberty to re-enter the cases should any issues arise in the meantime.

The Judge told the teenager there are enough charges before the court to jail him for 18 months.

He warned the youth that if he did not commit to the course the only gym he would be using would be the one in Limerick prison.

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