Judge Catherine Staines said she faced a dilemma in sentencing a 19-year-old Portlaoise man to one month’s detention at last week’s court, as the public needed to be protected from his offending but St Patrick’s Institution is not an appropriate place to send someone.
Judge Staines said the institution is in breach of UN conventions, but it was the only place she could send Ryan Lewis, 98 St Brigid’s Place, Portlaoise.
Lewis, who has been in custody since October 24 following a circuit court ruling that he be remanded until a place becomes available for him at the Aislinn Centre for his drug addiction, was charged with handling stolen property in September this year, and the authorised taking of a car and theft, on October 19.
There were also a number of other charges outstanding against Lewis, burglary in 2010, and public order charges from 2010 to 2012.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that in relation to the taking of the vehicle the car had not been damaged. The keys had been in it and the engine was running, so Lewis sat in the driver’s seat and drove it away.
In relation to the handling stolen property charge, Ms Fitzpatrick said that Lewis had been living with another person at the time who had the stolen items and Lewis took them to a pawn shop, in order to feed a heroin addiction.
Defence said that “the circuit court is not finished with him”, and he is due back before the district court on two further dates.
“The court is faced with a dilemma,” said Judge Staines. “He’s a young person with a serious heroin addiction, but these are serious offences and the public need to be protected from them. The only place to send him is St Patrick’s Institution, which is in breach of UN conventions and isn’t an appropriate place to send him.”
The judge imposed one month’s detention on all matters. She said that Lewis was going to receive a lot of assistance, but he had to help himself.