Judge tells teen boys his age ‘shouldn’t be wearing €1,000 coats’

Ennis courthouse
Ennis Courthouse

A judge has told an accused teen in the Children’s Court that “young men aged 14 and 15 shouldn’t be wearing €1,000 coats”.

At the Children’s Court at Killaloe District Court, sitting in Ennis, Judge Alec Gabbett made the comment after observing that a 15-year-old boy accused of sexual assault was wearing a branded jacket, prompting the judge to ask him “where did you get the nice coat?”

Judge Gabbett said that any teen wearing a €1,000 coat “is a big concern to me”.

He added: “It can tell me a lot of things which trouble me greatly .”

From the body of the court, the teen, sitting beside his mother, told Judge Gabbett “it is fake” and that his brother bought the coat.

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Judge Gabbett replied: “You are going to tell it is fake anyway. If you didn’t get it, where did your brother get it?”

The teen told Judge Gabbett said his brother got it in a market.

“It doesn’t look fake to me. It doesn’t give me a huge amount of comfort,” Judge Gabbett replied.

The judge said that, while on bail, the teen’s “extra curricular activities need to be minimised so that you can get through this difficult period of your life”.

Solicitor Daragh Hassett, for the teen, said that his client “knows that he has to keep his head down”.

Judge Gabbett told the teen that Garda Aine Troy has outlined in court that the boy is facing a sexual assault charge where he is alleged that he “dry-humped a lady”.

The teen is accused of the sexual assault on May 14, 2022, at a location in East Clare. He is also facing a theft charge.

Outlining the case against the teen, Garda Troy said that it will be alleged that the boy “grabbed a female from behind and tried to hump her over her clothes”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has recommended that the case be heard in the district court and Judge Gabbett said that he would accept jurisdiction and the case will be dealt in the District Court.

Judge Gabbett told the teen that he has adjourned the case to February to allow his solicitor to receive all of the Garda documentation in the case.

Judge Gabbett told the teen that, on the next day, he will be able to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty to the charge before the court.