A PENSIONER who threatened to stab a four-year-old boy with a chef's knife while the terrified child was on his way to school has been ordered to keep the peace for two years.
James Ellis (71) made the chilling threat to the boy near his home and went on to threaten his alarmed father with a claw hammer when confronted, Dublin District Court heard.
Ellis had denied carrying out the threats, saying he did not know the boy or his father and had no idea why they brought the complaints against him.
Finding him guilty, Judge Catherine Staines said she wanted to make sure there was no repeat of the incident.
Ellis, of, Dolphin House, Dublin 8, was found guilty of having the knife near his home with intent to intimidate, as well as possession of the hammer.
The child had originally been due to give evidence to the court by video link, but the State decided to go ahead without calling him as a witness.
In evidence, the boy's father said Ellis had a knife when he put his head over his balcony and threatened to stab the boy as he was walking to school.
Ellis, who lived on one of the upper floors of the block of flats, had a hammer when he made a threat to the boy's father.
The court heard that youths had been throwing eggs at flats in the complex around the time of the incident.
In evidence, Ellis said: "I don't know the people" and could not explain why they might have made the claims against him.
He said he did not go out much because of problems with his legs following a stroke and would generally stay in watching television.
When not doing this, he said, he would go shopping or to collect his washing.
The court heard Ellis made no complaint to the garda when arrested. Neither the knife nor the hammer were found in his home.
Barrister Keith Spencer said in the absence of any of the implements or independent witnesses, all the court had was "one person's evidence against the other".
"He has told the court he simply does not know what (the boy's father) is on about", Mr Spencer said.
He said the complainant had been inconsistent in his evidence and had said some things "that were just false".
The State solicitor said that Ellis himself had given evidence that eggs had been thrown around his flat, there were gangs of youths around and he maintained he did not react to this.
The court heard Ellis had previous convictions from the UK but had not been in trouble since 1976.
Binding him to keep the peace for two years, the judge said: "I am anxious that nothing like this will happen again."