Judge criticises lack of secure youth beds

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A judge has criticised the authorities for not providing enough secure accommodation for young people.

District Judge Barney McElholm said the judiciary had advised the authorities many years ago that they were not providing enough secure beds but ‘we were not listened to’.

The judge made the comments as he remanded a 14-year-old boy in custody.

The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, is charged with assault, making a threat to kill and criminal damage.

He is further charged with possessing a knife on October 20.

Earlier this week the 14-year-old appeared in court accused of breaching his bail conditions.

Defence counsel Eoghan Devlin said the breach of bail was accepted.

He added his client had no suitable bail address and there would be no application for him to be re-released.

Judge McElholm said the youth was ‘crying out’ for secure accommodation as he was ‘simply unmanageable in an ordinary care home situation’.

He added ‘unfortunately I am going to have to remand in custody. I would rather send him to secure accommodation but that’s just not available’.

The 14-year-old will appear in court again via videolink on December 22.