Having ADHD not a licence to flout a court order, says judge

Judge Patricia Harney

HAVING attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is not a licence to ignore court-imposed rulings, a Limerick judge told a teenager.

Judge Patricia Harney was hearing an update on a case which had previously come before the court in which a youth broke a court protection order awarded to his mother.

The youth cannot be named as he was underage at the time of the offence.

The Newcastle West District court heard the now 19-year-old was “roaring and shouting” threats at his mother and threatened to set fire to her car.

When the case came back before the court this week for review, the youth’s solicitor, Mr Ted McCarthy, said he is now living at home with his mother and there “has been no repeat of that behaviour”.

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Mr McCarthy said the teen is “actively seeking work”, and is handing up half of his weekly disability payment to his mother to cover living expenses.

“He has had ADHD all his life,” Mr McCathy said.

The young man’s mother, who was in court, said when asked by the judge how things were at home now that the situation was “all right” but that her son “is a compulsive liar. If he told me the grass was green I’d have to go outside and check.”

Judge Harney told the young man “you have breached a court order and I take a very dim view of that. A court order is not just a piece of paper you pick up off the ground. Having ADHD is not a licence to breach an order.”

She asked whether the teen would be open to dealing with the probation service and, when he said he would, she said that he should understand that this meant being pro-active in engaging with the service and keeping appointments.

“The alternative is a jail sentence. You have never been to jail but the majority of people who have do not want to repeat the experience,” she said.

Judge Harney adjourned the matter to December 8 for a probation report.