A MAN who denied possession of a potentially “fatal” weapon could have his two-year suspended prison sentence re-activated by Limerick Circuit Court.
Martin Clancy, 40, with an address at Hartstonge Street, was convicted at Limerick District Court of possession of an offensive weapon when he was caught by Garda Kevin Goff, Henry Street station, at 3.20am on Lower Hartstonge Street, on July 20 last.
In June last he received a two-year sentence for a drugs charge dating back to April 2009. The sentence was suspended for two years on the condition that he be of good behaviour.
Garda Goff said the defendant was holding the knife in his right hand, where it was partially concealed, when he passed by in a garda patrol car.
The court heard when Clancy saw Garda Goff he ran across the street and threw it into the basement of a Georgian building.
“You can’t prove I’ve a knife,” he said to Garda Goff, after he was apprehended.
After his arrest and caution, he offered no explanation about why he was in possession of the knife.
Clancy gave his address as Henry Street, not Hartstonge Street, but claimed he was confused as he had recently changed his address, and was under the influence of strong medication at the time due to a slipped disc.
He said he had to move from Henry Street due to a fire in the building two weeks previously, and was still suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Gardai, however, said the reasons for not giving his correct address “were rather more nefarious”.
“Officer, no, not at all. I went down the next day [to Henry Street station] and rectified everything,” he said. There was no record to support this.
In the witness box, he claimed he was awoken by his friends, who heard a dispute outside, with people removing parts of the railings.
He said this had been done twice previously, and he feared parts of the railings could be used as weapons against people.
He claimed that nearly an hour later he went up to fix the railings, after his friend checked to make sure the disputing parties were gone, and then he saw the knife on the road.
“There was no way I was leaving that on the street. It was a dangerous looking object,” he said.
Inspector Seamus Ruane said the defendant was putting in “a good Samaritan type effort” in the witness box, and asked why the same version of events wasn’t given to gardai on the night.
“I never saw that knife before in my life,” he replied.
He admitted that he “panicked” when he saw gardai, with Insp Ruane replying: “That’s the only word of truth you’ve told.”
A friend who was drinking with Clancy on the day also testified. He said he had been drinking in the flat since 12 noon, “watched a few horses, backed a few horses”, fell asleep and started drinking again.
“And you’re telling me you’ve a clear recollection of the events the night before,” asked the Insp.
Solicitor John Herbert said his client was “no stranger to gardai” and agreed that the “circumstances were not exactly normal”.
However, he said his client’s actions were plausible nonetheless, and called for the charge to be dismissed.
The defendant has five previous convictions, for possession of drugs, possession of a knife and a flick knife, and being threatening and abusive.
Gardai ordered that the weapon be destroyed, and Judge Angela Ni Chonduin remanded the matter back to the Circuit Court.