A YOUNG man who admitting carrying around an axe “for his own protection” after he received veiled threats has been told he will avoid a criminal conviction if he stays out of trouble.
Lee Williams, aged 19, who has an address at Downey Avenue, Garryowen, admitted having the weapon in his car on July 24 last.
Limerick District Court was told the axe was discovered after the defendant was stopped while driving at Island Road.
Inspector Dermot O’Connor said the axe was located by gardai “inside the driver’s door” and that, when cautioned, the defendant claimed he had it as he feared for his safety.
Solicitor John Devane said a number of weeks earlier, Mr Williams had received a mass card containing his photograph and the words “Rest in Peace”.
He said he did not know who had sent the card which was hand-delivered to his home.
Mr Devane added that his client’s father had received a similar card expressing condolences for his loss on the death of his son.
He added that he also saw a number of men “dressed in black” outside the front gate of his home on the day the mass card was delivered.
Insp O’Connor confirmed that gardai received a report of the incident from the defendant’s father but he said that a formal complaint was not made.
In mitigation, Mr Devane said Mr Williams, who has no previous convictions, had not come to the attention of gardai prior to the incident and that he has not been in trouble since.
When asked by Judge Eugene O’Kelly why his client had not gone to the gardai when he received the mass card, Mr Devane replied: “He thought he would suffer a far worse fate if he went to the guards.”
Noting Mr Williams’ previous good record, and the positive contents of a Probation Report, the judge adjourned sentencing for six months .
Gardai are to provide an update on the defendant’s behaviour on the next date and the judge has indicated if he does not come to the attention of gardai between now and then he will apply the Probation Act meaning Mr Williams will not have a criminal conviction on his record.