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Carer said knife in car was daughter's for school art class

A CARER caught illegally carrying a boxcutter knife in her car claimed her teenage daughter used it for her Leaving Certificate art class.

Caroline Sloan (38) maintained the blade had been left in her daughter's schoolbag in her car when gardai stopped her.

Judge William Early said he accepted the prosecution's version of events -- that it was in a pouch in the back of her car and she had no reasonable excuse for having it.

However, he applied the Probation Act, leaving her without a conviction after noting that the offence was at the "lower end of the scale".

Sloan, of Mourne Road, Drimnagh had denied unlawful possession of a weapon in Windmill Road, Crumlin on November 4, 2010.

Garda Marcus Regan of Sundrive Road Station told Dublin District Court that he stopped a car being driven by the accused at 11.20pm. He carried out a drug search of the car after seeing burned tin foil and what appeared to be methadone bottles inside.

A male front-seat passenger was known to gardai as a heavy drug user and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled drug.

During the search, the retractable blade was found in a pouch behind the front passenger seat. When asked to explain, the accused replied: "Yeah, that has been there for a while, I thought Kevin Street took that."


She told the court that three gardai were involved in the search. She insisted the blade was in her daughter's schoolbag in the back of the car.

She said she had been stopped going through amber lights a week earlier and when gardai searched the bag and found the knife, she told them what it was for.

"They obviously put it back," she said. "It was a €1.99 paper cutter out of Tommy's in Blanchardstown and Amy uses it for her art."

She said when she was stopped by Garda Regan she did not get a chance to explain because the gardai "got a call to a robbery" and left.

She claimed one of the gardai told her, "We have bigger fish to fry" before leaving.

Amy Sloan told the court she would leave her schoolbag in her mother's car after she collected her from school and remove it when doing her homework. She said she was in sixth year and used the knife for paper-cutting in art class.

Judge Early said he accepted the garda's evidence in its entirety and held there was no reasonable excuse for the accused to have the blade.

The court heard she had three previous convictions -- including possession of drugs and providing a prisoner with a mobile phone.

Defence counsel asked the judge to be as lenient as he could on Sloan, who was a "family woman".

"I take a poor view of Ms Sloan requiring her daughter to come here and give evidence in the manner that she has," the judge said.