A Mountmellick man who told gardaí he had a sharply pointed kitchen knife on his person for protection as he owed a drug debt has been given the benefit of the probation act.
Before last week's Portlaoise District Court was Adam Mullen, 18, of 27 Ashgrove, Mountmellick, charged with possession of a knife, on December 19 last.
When the case first came before the court in January, Sgt JJ Kirby gave evidence that the gardaí observed a car acting in a suspicious manner at Main Street, Mountmellick, so they signalled it to stop.
When they searched the accused they found a sharply pointed kitchen knife on him, which he said was for his own protection as he owed money for drugs.
The accused had no previous convictions.
Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that, at only 18, the accused was very young to find himself in this position.
She said he had underlying issues, but now intends to seek counselling for his addictions. Ms Fitzpatrick asked the court to adjourn the case to see how the accused got on with his counselling.
In ruling, Judge Catherine Staines said there was a serious amount of drug dealing going on, with drugs being given for free to young people and then debts build up, leading to young people being threatened and assaulted.
Judge Staines advised anyone assaulted or threatened to give details to the gardaí and those responsible would be dealt with very seriously.
“When you’re getting drugs for free, they’re not free,” warned Judge Staines. “I urge young people and parents to come forward.”
The matter was adjourned for a probation report.
When the case returned to court last week, after reading the report Judge Staines applied the probation act, section 1.1.