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Man jailed for causing €17,000 of damage during detention centre escape

By Declan Brennan

A Dublin man who caused over €17,000 euro of damage to a youth detention centre during a violent escape has been jailed for two years.

Calvin Brophy, now aged 20, was 17 when he and two other men used metal bars and other implements to smash up the centre in May 2017. They then broke into a tool shed and stole an angle grinder which they used to cut through a fence and escape.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Brophy of Courtney Place, Ballybough, Dublin city, walked into a garda station two months later and admitted his role in the offending. He later failed to show up for trial and a warrant was issued for his arrest and executed last November.

He was refused bail and subsequently pleaded guilty to criminal damage at Oberstown centre, Dublin on May 29, 2015.

Garda Robert Turley told Pieter LeVert BL, prosecuting, that Brophy was not the instigator of the offending. He said this was another juvenile detainee who threatened a member of staff with a broken piece of ceramic and took keys from this officer.

This man, Brophy and another youth then barricaded themselves into an area of the centre and armed themselves with metal bars pulled from metal tables. They began using fire extinguishers to try to smash up a back door and smashed up a sink fixture.

The men were extremely aggressive and were shouting that they would harm staff, the court heard. Brophy was seen smashing a CCTV camera with an iron bar.

At one point he and another youth pulled a radiator from a wall and used it as a battering ram to get out a back door. The centre director came to the scene to try to calm the situation but Brophy’s co-accused struck him with an iron bar through a smashed window.

The three youths got out of the building and then broke into a tool shed and took the sledgehammer and angle grinder before cutting their way through a perimeter fence. One of the youths decided at the end not to escape.

Brophy’s barrister John Moher BL told the court that his client is sincerely remorseful for his actions on the day.

Judge Martin Nolan said that this was a foolhardy stupid escapade. He said that Brophy was not the instigator but he took part “with great enthusiasm”.

He said he is a young man and said that the courts always hope for reform. He suspended the final year of a three-year prison term on condition that Brophy keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the three years.

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