Tuesday 18 June 2019

Man was attacked with knife at sitting of court

A Garda sergeant has expressed his frustration at an ongoing feud among Traveller families in Tubbercurry which is resulting in outbreaks of violence which go unreported.

At Sligo Circuit Court last Tuesday, the town's sergeant, John Walsh who said the feuding was going on for the past two and a half years but it was being dealt with without the assistance of the Gardaí with injured parties not making statements.

He said there had been a series of tit for tat incidents and one had occurred during a sitting of Tubbercurry District Court when it was by "the Grace of God no one was seriously injured."

"Many of the incidents are going unreported. They won't co-operate despite being told that our door is always open," he said.

Before the circuit court for sentencing was Charlie Ward (20) of 9 Parklands who was charged with the production of a Stanley knife during a sitting of Tubbercurry District Court at Teach Laighne on May 24th 2017.

Sergeant Walsh said he was standing at the rear of the court at about 12.20am when a Martin Ward left the courtroom.

Charlie Ward went charging after him through the double doors. Martin Ward fell back into the court and the defendant ran off down the street.

Sgt Walsh said he gave chase and caught up with him at Church Street.

He had put a carpet knife into his pocket.

The sergeant managed to arrest and handcuff the defendant.

During questioning subsequently, the defendant said that to be honest he carried the knife everywhere he went for protection.

"You have to," he said.

The defendant did not have any previous convictions and lived with his mother and father.

In reply to Mr Joseph Barnes BL (defending) with Mr Gerard McGovern, solicitor, Sgt Walsh said he wasn't aware the defendant was on medication for depression and anxiety as a result of his being attacked himself with a knife resulting in a long scar to the side of his head.

This attacked had occurred in February 2017.

Mr Barnes said the defendant had received threats on Facebook.

He wanted to leave the country and start a new life elsewhere. Sgt Walsh thought this would be a good idea.

Mr Barnes added that the defendant was assessed by the probation service as being at low risk of re-offending.

After being appraised of the situation by Sgt Walsh, Judge Keenan Johnson told him that he shared his frustration at the situation.

Sgt Walsh said that the person responsible for attacking the defendant had been brought before the circuit court and charged and there was no need for him to take the law into his own hands.

Judge Johnson said there was no justification for the defendant to behave in the manner he did.

"It's law of the jungle to bring a knife into a courtroom," he said.

He adjourned finalisation of the matter to June 26th and ordered the defendant to have €2,000 in court on that date for charity.

A two and a half year sentence was also imposed, suspended for five years. It was made a condition of the suspension that the defendant left the country for five years.

"I'm not going to tolerate this carry on and anyone who does engage in conduct like this can have their bags packed," said the Judge.

Sligo Champion