Cut himself to avoid court

A PORTLAOISE man who was due to appear as a witness in a court trial became so agitated when the gardaí attempted to remove him from his home, he grabbed a knife with the intention of hurting himself to overcome the effects of a panic attack.

A PORTLAOISE man who was due to appear as a witness in a court trial became so agitated when the gardaí attempted to remove him from his home, he grabbed a knife with the intention of hurting himself to overcome the effects of a panic attack.

Alan McEvoy, 5 Buttercup Avenue, Esker Hills, Portlaoise, was charged with threatening behaviour, the possession of a knife and the production of an article during a dispute, at his home on March 14.

Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that gardaí were attempting to execute a bench warrant to bring McEvoy to Dublin, where he was due to give evidence in a trial, when McEvoy panicked and came out of his house wielding a large black-handled knife in one hand and a smaller knife in the other. He cut himself during an incident in which gardaí were forced to use pepper-spray to restrain him.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said her client suffers with serious panic attacks and when it came time for him to give evidence in the trial he could not travel to Dublin due to medical difficulties.

“Such was his agitation when the gardaí tried to remove him, he grabbed the knives and intended hurting himself to overtake the panic attack,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

The court heard that the accused in the trial eventually pleaded guilty, meaning McEvoy’s evidence was not needed. Ms Fitzpatrick explained that McEvoy had given a statement in the case, but he “couldn’t see it through” when it came to court.

Ms Fitzpatrick concluded by saying that McEvoy is on medication, which is regulated, and he considers the incident very unfortunate. Ms Fitzpatrick also handed in a letter of apology to the court on his behalf.

After reading the letter, Judge Catherine Staines said she believed it was a genuine apology and she applied the probation act.