09 Aug 2022

Teen was being used by peers to take part in illegal fight club, court told

Teen was being used by peers to take part in illegal fight club, court told

A teenage boy was used by older peers to fighter other youngsters as part of an illegal fight club, the High Court has heard.

The teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is currently being detained at a special care unit following an application to the High Court earlier this month by lawyers representing Tusla - The Child and Family Agency.

The court heard that there were serious concerns for the boy's welfare and behaviour which resulted in the CFA seeking orders to have him placed at a secure unit so that he can get the supports and services he requires.

The boy's case returned before Mr Justice Mark Sanfey on Friday, who extended the teen's placement at the special care unit by an additional three months,

David Leahy Bl, instructed by solicitor Mark O'Neill of Mason Hayes & Curran  for the CFA, said that the teen was previously detained and placed in the secure care unit on foot of a temporary order granted by the court. The order was sought arising out the teen's "very disturbing behaviour," counsel said.

Counsel said that serious concerns about the boy's welfare and safety arose after he was discovered in the boot of a car, having being placed there by older peers.

Investigations revealed that the boy was being used by these other individuals to fight other boys in what counsel described as being an illegal fight club.

The teen, who is 16 years of age, had also reported taking substances including drugs and alcohol.

In addition to that issue counsel said the teen is accused of having committed some serious wrongdoings, including that he sexually assaulted a young female and having engaged in other inappropriate sexual behaviour.

He was also arrested by Garda and is charged with hijacking a car, from a female social worker, and taking it on a joy ride.

The teen is also accused of assault and criminal damage, and has a history of starting fires counsel added.

The boy have been in several voluntary placements, including foster care, but all of these had broken down and the teen had ended up being effectively homeless.

While in secure care counsel said the teen would be safe and would be provided with various supports.

Counsel said that the application to continue his detention was being supported by the boy's court appointed guardian, his family and Gardai investigating allegations against  the teen. 

Mr Justice Sanfey said he was satisfied to grant the CFA orders allowing it detain the teen for an additional three months. The judge described the teen's situation as "appalling" and that the boys is a "very troubled young man."

The judge noted that there were some "green shoots" in terms of the boy's progress, and development since going into the secure care unit.

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