Boy breached bail by going out for a smoke

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

The District Judge at Londonderry Magistrates ‘Court has called a teenager a “silly little boy” because he breached his bail by going outside to smoke a cigarette.

District Judge McElholm made his comment in court on Thursday as the teenager, who cannot be named or identified due to his age, appeared before him, on a charge of burglary.

District Judge McElholm was told that the boy burgled Long Tower Primary School on January 8.

The court was told that the young boy had initially been remanded in custody because there had been no suitable bail address for him, but he was subsequently released with a number of conditions. That happened last week and the teenager was ordered not only to abide by a curfew, but also submit to wearing an electronic tag.

An investigating police officer told the court that a number of breaches of the curfew had been detected on Wednesday night. They said each breach was no more than around 10 minutes long.

The court heard that when police called to the boy’s home he had told them he had been out for a smoke.

On hearing the evidence, District Judge McElholm said smoking was a filthy habit and asked the boy’s parents why the child was allowed to smoke as it would ruin his health.

District Judge McElholm released the boy on bail. However, he told him he was not allowed to go outside, even for a cigarette, during the hours of the curfew he imposed.