Man bought slash hook 'to fend off gang attack'
A MAN who bought a slash hook for his own protection following an altercation with a group of men has been given a six-month suspended sentence.
Daragh Hart (21) was stopped by gardai on a Balbriggan street shortly after he made the purchase and said he had bought it for self-defence but had no intention of using it.
Hart, of Millrose, Bluebell in Dublin pleaded guilty at Balbriggan District Court to being in possession of the slash hook on Drogheda Street, Balbriggan on October 7 last year.
"His actions were instinctive but excessive," defence counsel Ronan O'Carroll told Judge Alan Mitchell. "He did something without thinking."
Judge Mitchell remarked that he "did not see corn or hay growing on the streets" and asked what was Hart going to do with the weapon.
Mr O'Carroll explained that Hart, who has seven previous convictions, bought the slash hook to fend off the gang but he did not go and seek them out.
"He was on his way home with it when he was stopped by gardai," he said.
Mr O'Carroll explained that Hart has long standing mental health and drug problems.
He said the defendant has sought the help of the Rutland Centre and is a suitable candidate for an eight-week programme to address his issues.
Judge Mitchell remarked that it "wasn't drugs or alcohol that made him go in and buy it".
"He should have went home and contacted the gardai instead," said the judge, suspending the sentence for two years. He warned Hart to attend for treatment for his drug addiction.
"We are not going back to the Dark Ages of using scythe and bows and arrows," he said, ordering the weapon to be destroyed.