Had knife in Portlaoise street for protection

'Paranoid' protection theft

Had knife in Portlaoise street for protection

A 23-year-old man who told gardaí he was carrying a large knife for his own protection has been given the benefit of the probation act.

At last week's sitting of the district court in Portlaoise was Danny O’Neill, 23, with a current address at Apt 2, 27 Main Street, Castleisland, Co. Kerry, and formerly of St Brigids Place, Portlaoise.

He was charged with possession of a knife, at the Ridge Road, Portlaoise.

Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that on November 17 last year, at the Ridge Road, Portlaoise, the accused was detected carrying a large knife, 20cm long and 4cm wide.

The accused said the knife was for his own protection.

The accused had no previous convictions.

Defence, Mr Barry Fitzgerald said that there had been no one else in the vicinity at the time, so on one was in immediate threat.

Mr Fitzgerald said the accused had moved to Laois from Belfast 12 years ago and developed a drug problem, running up a drug debt of €2,000.

On the night of the offence, the accused was on a cocktail of drink and drugs and got paranoid about people looking for him, said defence.

Ms Fitzgerald went on to say that the accused is now in employment and attending counselling for drugs, as he needs to rehabilitate himself.

Defence concluded by saying the accused was a young man and this offence was a very foolish thing to do.

Judge Catherine Staines remarked that knives are just lethal and said what was even more worrying was that the accused had been drunk on the night.

The accused himself told the court: “I don’t even know why I had it, to be honest.”

As the accused was now working and staying away from drugs, Judge Staines said she would give him an opportunity, but she warned him not to have a knife again.

The accused was given the probation act, section 1.1.