Young offender in care is put up in hotels

A teenage offender under the care of social services has been living in a hotel for almost a year, a court has heard.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard the 17-year-old has been living in the hotel for the last ten months waiting for social services to secure him independent accommodation.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, is charged with possession of a large knife, common assault and theft.

The charges relate to an alleged incident on May 26.

He appeared in court yesterday for breaching his bail conditions, including a curfew and residence

The court was told the teen was moved to a different hotel this week and it was reported to police he had gone

Police opposed the teenager’s application to be re-released on bail.

An investigating officer said police searched for the 17-year-old and he was found at an address in the Waterside. He was discovered hiding in a cupboard.

Opposing bail, the officer said the teen has ‘shown a disregard for social services and the police’.

The officer said there is a high risk he will commit further offences and revealed the 17-year-old has 18 previous convictions.

She added that police fear the boy ‘poses a high risk to the public’ due to the weapon charge.

Defence solicitor Keith Kyle said his client accepts breaching his bail because he found moving hotels ‘unsettling’.

He told the court social services have now secured independent accommodation for the boy and it is available from June 1.

The solicitor said if the teen is remanded in custody it would ‘undo the good work that has been done’ and he will lose the address.

District Judge Peter King released the teenager on bail with the same terms and conditions because ‘we are within touching distance of getting you a house’.

However, he warned the 17-year-old ‘my sympathy is limited and it will be very difficult for you to persuade me to re-release you if you breach bail again’.

The boy will appear in court again on June 2.