Driver attacked by knife-wielding trespasser

Ballybane man appeals 11 month sentence

A Ballybane man who slashed at a car with a kitchen knife and threatened to kill the terrified driver received a total of 11 months detention this week; however, he was then released on bail pending an appeal.

Galway District Court heard last Monday that 20-year-old Sean Faherty had been trespassing at a house on Christmas Eve in 2007, when he was disturbed by a concerned neighbour. Faherty then launched an attack on the witness who quickly rolled up the window of his car to protect himself from being slashed with a knife.

Faherty, with an address at 124 Ard Alainn, Ballybane, appeared before Judge Mary Fahy charged with possession of a knife, criminal damage, and trespassing, as well as threatening and abusive behaviour, at Hazel Park, Newcastle on December 24, 2007.

Inspector Pat McHugh told the court that a man and his son’s girlfriend had just got into their car to deliver Christmas presents when they noticed two suspicious men, carrying kitchen knives, at a nearby house. Knowing that neither one of these men lived at the house, the witnesses drove over to investigate. Just as the car pulled into the driveway the men approached and the defendant proceeded to stab at the windscreen and threatened the occupants.

“The driver felt that he would have been dead if he had not managed to get his window up,” said Inspector McHugh, who added that Faherty then roared at the driver: “Get out of the car you bastard. I am going to kill you”. He said that the incident had had a “huge impact” on the driver of the car.

The defendant then went on to commit numerous other offences around the town. On February 8, 2008, the defendant entered Spar in Eyre Square where he stole cash, valued €60, from four poor boxes which he ripped from their chains, causing damage worth €170 to the cash register. That same night Faherty went to Centra in Forster Street where an accomplice attempted to steal sweets. When the defendant was stopped by Declan Mahon he assaulted him by throwing a punch and the sweets at him. He then kicked the front door, smashing the window and causing €1,000 worth of damage. He was later caught by gardai at Ceannt Railway Station.

On April 27, 2008, Faherty had been in a row with another male at Eyre Square and had been handcuffed and placed in the patrol car. As the garda officer was dealing with another row which had broken out the defendant escaped from the patrol car and ran off. When the defendant was re-arrested it was discovered that he had used an axe to cut the handcuffs. On the same date he had been viewed on CCTV stealing a bottle of vodka from Dunnes Stores in Westside. While attempting to evade capture the defendant head-butted and punched a security man in the face.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client has had “serious mental health” issues with a history of “self-harm”. She added that the defendant lives with his mother who is unable to provide adequate support.

“As a result of his actions someone was seriously traumatised. When he is confronted he assaults people. I have to mark these matters with a sentence,” said Judge Fahy, who imposed a total of 11 months detention. However, Faherty later lodged an appeal and was released on bail on the strict condition that he reside at his mother’s residence, abide by the house rules, and attend all medical appointments.

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