A MAN who was brandishing a slash-hook when he arrived at a row involving some 40 people “had no idea” plain-clothes gardai were already at the scene attempting to defuse the situation, Limerick District Court has been told.
Christopher McCarthy, 49, of Hyde Road Limerick, pleaded guilty to possession of a slash-hook and to threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour on July 24 last.
Solicitor Sarah Ryan told Judge Marian O’Leary that her client had been in bed when his partner answered a knock on the door from someone “explaining that his daughter was in some difficulty”.
McCarthy believed his daughter was “at risk of being harmed” and had set out for an altercation that was taking place down the street.
The slash-hook, Ms Ryan said, had been lying around the house for no other reason than the fact that it was summer and he was using it in the garden.
“He instinctively picked it up with the intention of protecting his daughter,” Ms Ryan said.
She told Judge O’Leary there had been no repeat incidents among the parties involved since last July.
Gardai had observed McCarthy waving the slash-hook around on the night in question.
Insp Dermot O’Connor said there was “no reason” for McCarthy to arrive with a slash-hook as “gardai were already present dealing with a dispute”.
Ms Ryan said her client “had no idea” there were gardai present as they were not in uniform.
McCarthy has 22 previous convictions, including three for assault and one for possession of an offensive weapon, but Insp O’Connor conceded most of these were historical.
Judge O’Leary ordered a report to assess McCarthy’s suitability for 150 hours of community service in lieu of three months in prison and adjourned the case to March 25.