Father caught with knife outside school
A MAN caught with a hunting knife in his car outside a Dublin school claimed he had been using it to fend off wild bears, wolves and scorpions on an expedition in central Europe.
Colm McGettrick (34) maintained the knife was part of his survival equipment and he had just come off a ferry from a five-week wilderness trek when he was stopped by gardai on the Malahide Road.
The father-of-one produced a picture of himself visiting former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz on his way back from the trip in an attempt to prove his claim in court.
But he was found guilty of unlawful possession of a weapon and fined €2,500.
Judge Ann Watkin said she did not think he had the knife for any "sinister purpose", but ruled that it was illegal.
McGettrick, of Melville View, Finglas, had denied a charge of unlawful possession of a weapon at Mount Temple Comprehensive at the Malahide Road on June 3 last year.
Garda John Fitzgerald told Dublin District Court he stopped the defendant's car on the night after it turned into a school. McGettrick had been driving.
He searched the car and found the knife in a compartment in the console between the two front seats.
The accused told him at the time he had used the knife for fishing at Balscadden in north Co Dublin and was on his way to Barcode nightclub.
The Clontarf club was not open at the time.
The garda said there were bags with clothes but he could not recall seeing any other camping equipment.
Defence barrister Keith Spencer said the accused had been on a camping trip around central Europe, including Germany, Poland and Croatia.
Garda Fitzgerald said the accused did not tell him this when he spoke to him.
The defendant said in evidence he had just come off the ferry that night with two of his travelling companions.
He denied driving the car, which was his.
The third man in the car fled when he saw the gardai because there had been a warrant out for his arrest.
He insisted there were tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, suitcases and toys he had bought for his son.
His trip had included an element of danger including "bears, scorpions, wolves and other wild animals. I am a fisherman and it would be nothing abnormal for me to have a knife," he said.
He said he also used it for cooking.
"I don't believe he was truthful to the court," Judge Watkin said, convicting him.