| 18.2°C Dublin

Couple seized knives from suicidal friend

A DUBLIN man and woman arrested while carrying knives in the city had confiscated them from their flatmate after she had threatened to kill herself with them, a court heard.

Margo Mahoney (20) had a flick knife on her while Mark O'Brien (40) was found with a meat cleaver and Stanley knife blade stuffed down his trousers when gardai stopped them.

Mahoney was found guilty of unlawful possession of a weapon and fined €250 while O'Brien was cleared of similar charges after a judge ruled a garda search was not properly carried out.

Dublin District Court heard their flatmate had tried to harm herself when they busted her door down, seized the weapons and left the building with them.

The court heard their flatmate had wounded herself as well as stabbing and slashing them, and all three had visible injuries when they appeared in court.

The flatmate was not charged with anything but gave evidence of her own mental health problems, supporting their explanation for having the knives.

Finding Mahoney guilty, Judge Bryan Smyth noted that she was stopped by gardai a mile from her home and had opportunities to dispose of the knife before that.

Mahoney, of Coultry Drive Ballymun and O'Brien of Lower Dorset Street had both pleaded not guilty to unlawful possession of weapons at St Peter's Road, Phibsboro on June 22 last.

The court heard gardai stopped the pair after they saw Mr O'Brien put an object down the back of his trousers. A meat cleaver was found in a search and Mahoney volunteered a flick knife.

Aine Flynn, defending, argued the gardai had not established the power of search that they used and Judge Smyth dismissed the charges against Mr O'Brien.

In evidence, Mahoney said her flatmate had been trying to kill herself. Mahoney said she and Mr O'Brien were going to dispose of the knives when the gardai stopped them.

Ms Flynn said Mahoney had a reasonable excuse to have the knife because there was a "real and present risk that harm would happen if the articles weren't taken from the flat".

The flatmate gave evidence that she had "various health difficulties" and that she had tried to harm herself. "I was in a bad state", she said, adding that she had also recently "cut herself up".

aphelan@herald.ie