Man buys knuckle duster and knife over lunch, court hears

A young Athenry man who had been found in possession of a knuckle duster and a knife told Judge Mary Fahy this week that he had travelled to Dublin and purchased the dangerous items on “a spur of the moment thing” over lunch.

Daniel Hanley had been found in possession of the weapons when gardai, who had been tipped off, searched him at Supermac’s in Eyre Square and he was arrested. The 20-year-old with an address at Kingsland, Athenry, then pleaded guilty at Galway District Court last Monday to having illegal possession of the knuckle duster and knife on May 29, 2008, contrary to Section 9(1 ) of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

Inspector Ernie White told the court that at 3.40am gardai received information that the defendant was in possession of the weapons and after being searched and found with the items he admitted they were his.

The defendant’s solicitor said that on the day in question Hanley had gone up to Dublin and had been “offered the items” but “did not use them” nor did he threaten to use them. He added that the gravity of the situation had been fully explained to his client who is currently unemployed.

“Am I missing something? A 20-year-old does not go to Dublin and get these items without an explanation. These articles are very very serious,” said Judge Fahy.

It was then explained that Hanley had met an acquaintance in Dublin, purchased the items, and then got the train back to Galway.

Hanley then told Judge Fahy that it had been “a spur of the moment thing”. “I met a friend for lunch who I haven’t seen in a while and he just offered them to me then and there,” he said.

Judge Fahy replied that carrying such items at Supermac’s could have been very serious if an incident had arisen.

Inspector White then told the court that the defendant had no previous convictions.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Fahy imposed a four month sentence suspended for 12 months on the condition that Hanley be of good behaviour and not re-offend within that period. Hanley was also ordered to pay a fine of €500 with three months to pay.

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