Knife in car for papering kitchen
A Dundalk man who claimed a Stanley knife found in his car by Gardai was using it for wallpapering his kitchen, it has been claimed.
Gerry Joyce, (46) 21 Road 2 Muirhevnamor, pleaded not guilty to the unlawful possession of the knife at O'Hanlon Park on August 12 and said he had it for a lawful purpose. Garda Conor Tuite told Judge John Coughlan that he was on mobile patrol when he spotted Joyce's Toyota Landcruiser parked at the side of the road.
Initially, Joyce 'ignored' Gardai but then rolled down the window 'a few inches' and handed over his driving licence. Gda. Tuite said he saw Joyce 'reaching down the side' of the seat and the officer informed the defendant he was going to search the vehicle under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
Joyce first objected to it, but then stepped out of the car and Gardai found a Stanley knife close to driver's seat. Gda. Tuite asked the defendant why he had it and Joyce said it was for wallpapering his kitchen. Gardai seized the knife and brought the prosecution.
Gda. Tuite said there was nothing else to do with wallpapering in the car.
Barrister Irene Sands said Joyce had offered that Gda. Tuite could go to his house and see the work that had been carried out. And while Gda. Tuite agreed the defendant had made the offer, he said he refused. The Garda said: 'How could I tell how long the wallpaper had been up? All I was going to see was paper on a wall'.
Ms Sands said her client had bought six rolls of paper ten days earlier and a receipt for them was produced in court. Gda. Tuite said this was the first time he had seen the receipt and added the case had been adjourned a number of times since it first went into the court list and there had 'never been any mention' of the receipt.
Ms Sands said the receipt was 'not some fabrication'. Gda. Tuite said the knife was in the car in the absence of any other DIY items. He said: 'He still would have no reason to have the knife in the vehicle if he was going wallpapering at home. This was at half ten at night and he was the other side of the town to where he lives. It wasn't in his pocket and there was nothing else in the car'.
Joyce told the court he had purchased six rolls of paper on August 2 and handed in the receipt to the judge. He said he had asked the Garda to go straight to his house to see the work he'd done and the Garda refused.
Looking at the receipt, the judge asked Joyce: 'Did you pay the VAT on this?' and the defendant replied: 'I just paid for the paper'. Judge Coughlan said he had heard all the evidence and convicted Joyce.
Ms Sands said her client, who has previous convictions, including one for possession of an article in 2008, is a father of six grown up children who is on a CE scheme. Judge Coughlan imposed a €200 fine and said: 'Don't come before me again'.