A POLISH national caught with a knife in the street who claimed he was just holding it for a friend has been put on probation with strict bail conditions, with Judge Catherine Staines warning him he was lucky not to be before the court on a manslaughter charge.
Kamil Cruk, of 67 Lough gate, Portarlington, was charged with the possession of a knife at Main Street, Portlaoise, on November 18 last year.
Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that a group of people were observed at 2.10am on the street and when gardaí approached, Cruk was seen to be holding a large kitchen knife with an eight-inch serrated blade. He concealed the knife behind his back before he threw it away. When questioned, Cruk told gardaí: “I was holding it for my friend.”
Cruk was also charged with being a passenger in a stolen car on December 6, at Corrig, Portarlington. Inspector Harrington said that the stolen car was observed by gardaí pulling into the driveway of a house which it had no connection with. Cruk was one of three occupants in the vehicle, which had been stolen the day before.
There was a third charge against Cruk, of failing to appear in court on December 20.
Defence, Mr Declan Breen said his client’s actions were the result of drink. On the night of November 18, Cruk had been in a pub with friends and after they left a fight began. A knife was produced during the fight, but Cruk disarmed the person and threw the knife away.
In relation to the unauthorised carriage in a motor vehicle, Mr Breen said that this offence occurred the same day that Cruk appeared in court to face the knife charge. There were acquaintances of Cruk’s in court on the day and as he had no money for transport he had accepted a lift in the stolen car.
Mr Breen said that his client, a 20-year-old Polish national who has been living in Ireland for six years, struggles with alcohol.
Judge Catherine Staines described them as extremely serious matters which would normally merit a custodial sentence.
“You’re fortunate not to be before the court on a manslaughter charge,” she told Cruk.
The judge said that in light of his age, she wanted to see a probation report before deciding on sentencing. The matter was put back to May 2 for the report, with bail conditions that Cruk must abstain from alcohol and adhere to a curfew of 9pm to 8am.
“If you’re seen out after 9pm you’ll be in breach of your bail,” warned the judge, adding that Cruk must keep all his appointments with the probation service.