herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Dad feared he would be kneecapped

A FATHER-of-two caught brandishing a tar-covered wooden pole outside his partner's home was trying to protect himself and his family from threats that he would be shot and the house burned down, a court heard.

Alan Lawlor (33) was in fear for his partner and children's lives when he ran into the street with the stick. He has been cleared of a weapons charge after a court heard he had brandished it in self-defence.

Judge Catherine Staines dismissed the case, but warned Lawlor he could not "take the law into his own hands".



Unlawful

Lawlor, of Tamarisk Way, had denied the charge of unlawful possession of a weapon outside his partner's home at Sundale Crescent, in Tallaght.

Dublin District Court heard gardai were called to the scene of the incident at 12.50am on July 30 this year. Garda Eimhear Judge said she saw the accused on the street brandishing the two-and-a-half foot wooden pole covered in tar.

"He had it in the air and he was running around the street shouting," she said.

The accused dropped the pole when asked to and apologised. Garda Judge said the accused explained to her he had had trouble at his partner's house, but she saw nobody at the scene at the time.

Defence solicitor Jeremy Ring said the family had been in "great fear" and had stayed in a hotel for several days before the incident.

Lawlor told the court stones had been thrown at the house and when he complained to gardai, he received a threat that he would be kneecapped, that he would be shot and his partner's house burned down.

On the night of the incident, he said, a man arrived and began banging on the door, trying to get into the house.

At first, the intruder called him, saying: "Come out, we want to talk to you."

"Then he started kicking the door and told me I was going to get my two legs broken," Mr Lawlor said.



Targeted

"I was afraid of him coming in or my partner getting hurt or the kids."

His partner, Georgina O'Connor, said she did not know why they had been targeted.

Mr Ring asked Judge Catherine Staines to dismiss the charge, saying the accused had acted in self defence.

"Mr Lawlor, you can't take the law into your own hands, but I am satisfied that on this occasion, you felt you were in immediate danger and were protecting your partner," the judge said.

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