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Judge says he is ‘sending a message’ on knife carrying with six month prison sentence

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Balbriggan District Court

Balbriggan District Court

Balbriggan District Court

fingalindependent

A 21-year-old railway engineer found in possession of a knife has been given a six month prison sentence at Balbriggan District Court after Judge Dermot Dempsey said “A message has to be sent out”.

The court heard Darragh Ojiambo, 23 Knightsgate Green, Rush was on an e-scooter when he attempted to evade gardaí and was subsequently found in possession of a knife on April 1 this year at Knightsgate Green.

He was again found in possession of a knife the following day.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis at Whitestown Road, Rush on February 4, 2020.

Sergeant Patricia McGarrity told the court that on April 1st, 2021 gardaí observed the defendant on an e-scooter at Knightsgate Green, Rush, County Dublin on April 1.

On seeing gardaí he attempted to evade them and was found at an address nearby.

When asked why he did this he said he got scared and admitted he was carrying a knife.

On April 2, he was again found wit a knife in his possession by gardaí.

The court also heard evidence February 4, 2020, Ojiambo was seen by gardaí acting in a suspicious manner at Whitestown Road, Rush.

He was searched and found in possession of cannabis with an estimated street value of €40.

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Ojiambo has four previous convictions outside the jurisdiction, the most recent of which was on April 15, 2021 at Central London Magistrates for supply of cannabis.

Barrister Annette Kealy said the defendant is a 21-year-old man whose mother was with him in court to support him.

She said Ojiambo had very difficult childhood circumstances when he was growing up and had suffered serious childhood trauma.

“Is that a reason to carry around knives?” Judge Dermot Dempsey asked.

Ms Kealy said it was not but added the accused had previously been attacked and suffered fear and paranoia as a result.

“He has suffered immense emotional trauma,” she said.

She added that the defendant had done his best to overcome this and went to the UK where he qualified as an engineer.

She said he has got a job as a railway engineer and is not taking any substances now, neither drugs nor alcohol.

She explained: “Obviously in relation to this incident he knows he shouldn’t have been carrying a knife.

“He did make admissions to gardaí.

“He is living in London by himself and is doing his best to improve his life.”

The barrister said Ojiambo was “extremely apologetic and remorseful” and said he did understand the seriousness of the offence.

She said he has come back from London on a number of occasions to deal with this and is working hard to progress himself and live a positive life.

She said Ojiambo had €300 with him in court if the judge would allow him to make a donation to charity.

However, Judge Dermot Dempsey said he was not prepared to go down the probation route.

He convicted the defendant and sentenced him to six months in prison for possession of a knife on April 1.

He imposed a similar order for the offence on April 2 and imposed a six month sentence, taking into account the possession of cannabis offence.

He refused a request by the barrister to suspend the sentence, stating: “I’m not prepared to suspend it.

“There is too much of this knife carrying going on and a message has to be sent out.”


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