Nova Scotia

Court mulls options for troubled teen

A Halifax court is deciding what to do with a troubled teenager who made headlines when the province tried to send him to Utah for treatment.

A Halifax court is deciding what to do with a troubled teenager who made headlines when the province tried to send him to Utah for treatment.

The boy was in youth court Monday for a sentencing hearing on several charges, including breaching his curfew and house arrest.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, has been in the care of his grandparents since last fall.

Since then, the court heard, the boy has defied court-imposed restrictions numerous times.

In one incident, the grandparents called police to report that their pickup truck was stolen. When officers stopped the vehicle, the teenager was inside, the court was told.

Much of the discussion at the hearing was about a three-year-old program at the IWK Health Centre called the Halifax Youth Attendance Centre. It's an individualized program that allows a teen to go home each evening.

Dr. Charles Emmrys, a New Brunswick psychologist working with the family, says he likes what he hears.

'What I like the most is they're really dedicated to working with the family and we know in these kinds of cases working with the family really predicts success," Emmrys told reporters outside court.

The teenager is well-known in the justice system. His run-ins with the law include robbery, arson and driving without a licence.

In 2009, the boy's grandparents asked the Nova Scotia Department of Community Services to step in and take responsibility for him.

When they found out about the plan to send him to Utah, they asked the court to force the province to treat him in Nova Scotia.

U.S. Customs agents refused to allow the boy entry into the country. The teen was then sent to the Bayfield facility in Ontario.

He has also spent time at the Wood Street facility in Truro, N.S.

Judge Jamie Campbell gave the Crown and defence more time to consider a sentence and find out if there is room in the IWK program for the teen, who is currently at the youth jail in Waterville.

The hearing resumes on Wednesday.

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