Judge and defense lawyer clash as ‘out of control’ youth denied bail – Armagh I

A judge took the unusual step of remanding a teenager in custody after ruling she was “out of control” following a clash with her defense lawyer.

The youth, who cannot be identified because of their age, are accused of damaging furniture at the care facility where they are staying, assaulting two female workers, assaulting police, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, damaging a fire extinguisher at a hospital, and attempting to damage a vehicle. PSNI.

The crime allegedly occurred on June 2.

There is also a further charge of inciting hatred by using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior with the intention of inciting hatred or fear between April 7 and June 2.

A police officer aware of the facts of the case told Dungannon Magistrates’ Court that all the charges could be related.

He explained that concerns initially arose when the youth was talking to another child and stated, “What’s going on, n***a.”

This occurred after an incident in which the teenager became aggressive towards staff at her care facility.

Upon arrival, police observed damage, including broken wood and glass, and learned she had thrown objects at staff, who became frightened.

When staff took the young person to hospital due to her behavior, she damaged a fire extinguisher and lighting and managed to get onto the roof, threatening to jump off, before medical staff persuaded her to come down

It emerged that she had seriously attacked a staff member on May 25, repeatedly punching him in the head, which resulted in black eyes.

The next day, she damaged the door, broke a window, and marijuana was found in her room.

On June 1, employees located her on the store’s roof and had to coax her again.

“The threat comes from the harm he causes to himself and others,” the officer said.

“Staff currently have concerns about managing the risks posed. (The youth’s) behavior has escalated since March 14, when she went missing six times.

“On one occasion she reached Dungannon and met with an adult female who had been issued a kidnapping warning due to the risks associated with access to alcohol, drugs and men, as well as concerns around child sexual exploitation (CSE).”

Defense counsel intervened, stating: “The objection is based on the perceived risk to herself. These cases were unrelated to the charges brought before the court. The use of non-criminal matters to object to or deny bail is fundamentally inappropriate.”

Judge Magill referred to CSE, abduction, alcohol and drug abuse, but the defense said: ‘While these may seem unpleasant, they are part and parcel of the experiences of many young people in care and she is certainly not the only person for whom such the risk is widespread.”

Judge Magill replied: “The conduct for which he stands trial includes extensive punitive damages, assaults and incitement. It’s kind of at the top end of the scale.”

The defense claimed that she had not been convicted of anything, had no criminal record and was entitled to the presumption of innocence.

Judge Magill added: “There are 12 Youth Conference orders relating to separate offenses including burglary, multiple assaults, theft, criminal damage, arson, harassment and threats to kill. Even though everyone had their backs, they wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t committed them.

The defense insisted that the teenager “is not at a threshold where diversions will no longer be used.

“In terms of risk, the (Health) Fund has mechanisms at its disposal, such as safe accommodation. This was not done. Young people in care may sometimes encounter difficulties and challenges. No matter how serious and unpleasant these charges may be, it is unlikely that she will be sentenced to prison.”

Judge Magill remarked: “I don’t want to listen anymore. She’s out of control. Bail denied.”

The youth will appear again via video link next month.

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