A RECOVERING heroin addict has been warned by a judge he is not be to found on the streets of Limerick in possession of potentially dangerous articles again.
Christopher Casey, 35, of St Munchin’s Street, St Mary’s Park, pleaded guilty at Limerick District Court to possession of an article – namely a broken walking stick – on O’Connell Street shortly after midnight on May 4, 2012.
Garda Paul Dromey was on foot patrol when he was told by a taxi driver of a man walking along the street with “a hammer-like instrument” in his hand.
“I saw him on O’Connell Street with the article in his hand and he could give no reason for having it,” Garda Dromey said.
Most of Casey’s 32 prior convictions related to traffic matters, Sgt Donal Cronin said, but he was convicted in both July 2011 and July 2010 for possession of a knife.
John Herbert, solicitor, said the item in his client’s possession “would have properly given cause for concern” but it was not the case that his client had it for any untoward purpose or had been attempting to conceal it. Garda Dromey agreed that Casey had been holding the article openly and had co-operated fully with gardai on the night.
Mr Herbert expressed concern at the manner in which the charge was worded and that the article had been “adapted to cause an injury”.
“It was a walking stick handle broken off at the top,” the solicitor said.
Asked by Judge Eugene O’Kelly whether the stick had been sharpened, Mr Herbert said it was a “clean break”.
“He didn’t break it himself. He will say he simply found it, picked it up and walked with it.”
“Yes but there are ways of carrying things,” Judge O’Kelly said, “and he obviously drew the attention of a passing taxi driver for the way he was carrying it”.
Casey was a recovering heroin addict who was still using on the date of the offence. He was at the time participating in a needle exchange programme.
“Had he wanted to possess a weapon, he had needles on him at the time,” Mr Herbert said. Casey was now on a methadone programme and attending at the Bedford Row project, which was supporting him in his recovery.
Judge O’Kelly said he was “encouraged to hear he is doing something about his addiction” and agreed to review the case on September 18.