Chapter Fourteen

On the Emerald Isle

Eileen is a solicitor working with the Children’s Court in Ireland. The Children’s Court is the criminal court that hears all minor charges against children and young people under the age of 18 years and acts as the clearinghouse for more serious charges which it sends to the Circuit and Central Criminal Court.

Though the Children’s Court only intervenes when a major or minor offense is committed by a juvenile, it also has to work in harmony with the Children’s Rights Alliance established in 1992 in concert with the UN which uses the international rulings as a framework to change Ireland’s laws, policies and services so that all children are protected, nurtured and empowered.

Eileen’s job is stressful and unnerving at times, entailing issues that are not clear-cut and often seem irrational. Obviously, all legal matters entail false accusation, unclear precedents, loopholes and unfair outcomes, but when children are the focus, it is not always clear who is at fault and where the blame lies.

Eileen’s current case is troubling because it involves a 12-year old boy, Chancy, who allegedly murdered both parents at the family’s home in the village of Dalkey.  He was just under the age of 12 when he committed the crime, and because of the Children Act 2001 the laws prevented him from receiving more than 12 months imprisonment if convicted, and though convicted, no prison time of any kind was imposed. Chancy got counseling and was placed under guardianship, and while under supervision contacted his sister. When they met, he brutally stabbed her and strangled her to death with a nylon cord.

Now the boy is back in court, and Eileen has been appointed his defense attorney. The case makes no sense, and there is no defense. Chancy is responsive, and admits to his crime, but never acknowledges why he committed any of the murders.

Chancy has no explanation or remorse for his crimes, though he acknowledges the acts. Eileen, who works for the international law offices of Dugan, Dilworth and Moynahan, a firm based in New York, was appointed to the case by the managing partner Patrick Moynahan. Moynahan had been contacted by Chancy’s uncle, Quinn O’Farrell, a resident of Dublin. The uncle believes that Chancy was abused by his sister and her husband, and is not responsible for his crimes. Chancy is currently under guard in a psychiatric hospital in Greystones in County Wicklow.

This is the most noted case to which Eileen has been assigned, though she has represented many children for the Court over the past seven years. And although she understands the “abuse” angle, Eileen is wary of her client’s personality, his temperament, and his mental state. She wonders if the boy has any “soul,” which isn’t a word acknowledged by the courts, especially for a boy who just turned twelve.

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