Judge gives man a chance following mum’s evidence DISTRICT COURT
AN Arklow man who was charged with the possession of an offensive weapon when he threatened a garda with a kitchen knife sharpener has been spared a prison sentence following the evidence of his mother, which Judge Alan Mitchell said he was ‘very impressed’ by.
Dylan Keegan of 27 The Green Meadowvale was charged with the offence at his home address on January 29, 2017.
Garda Peter McGinley told the court that on foot of a call to the station, he and three colleagues attended The Green in Meadowvale where he made enquiries and was directed to the home of Dylan Keegan.
He said that the accused’s mother June Donnelly came to the door and beckoned the officers in with a hand gesture and said that she did not want her neighbours to see.
The garda gave evidence that Keegan was ‘very irate and verbally abusive’ and told the gardaí to leave his house, that they had no warrant and called them pigs and c***s.
It was outlined that Keegan went into the kitchen and was ‘rustling in drawers’ before raising the knife sharpener, initially thought to be a machete, by the garda.
He complied with the direction of Garda McGinley to drop the article and to lay down on the ground.
He said that during the incident Keegan ‘struck out’ at his mother, but Ms Donnelly disputed this and said that her son did not.
Solicitor David Tarrant raised the issue of entry to the house and said that if Ms Donnelly did not officially invite officers in that the arrest was unlawful and therefore so were the charges.
Garda McGinley said that this incident ‘goes beyond the warrant’ and said that ‘if something had happened’ that questions would have been asked as to why the gardaí did not intervene.
‘From her demeanour, she looked in fear - so we could not leave,’ he said.
Garda Leanne Kirwan, in evidence said that four officers would not fit into the porch at Ms Donnelly’s home and therefore the indication was that they were to go inside the property.
‘Her son was getting more and more aggressive, telling her to get the guards out. He kept pushing her and from a guard’s view it was like she was afraid of her son,’ Garda Kirwan said.
In evidence, Ms Donnelly said that it was the presence of such a large number of gardaí which upset her son and that their presence caused him to be agitated.
She said that her son has ADHD and that she knows how to handle his bursts of anger and that she never feels in fear of him.
She added that her son ‘had a few drinks’ that day and that she was trying to get him to go to bed because ADHD and alcohol do not mix.
Ms Donnelly said that she was taken aback at the number of gardaí who turned up at her home.
‘I’m not in fear of my son. It was an uncomfortable situation and the excessive presence of gardaí did not help the situation,’ she said.
The court heard that while Ms Donnelly did not tell the gardaí to leave, that by saying she could handle the matter, that was an indication to do so.
As she did not withdraw permission for them to be there at any stage, and they did not act in an oppressive manner, the entry was viewed by the court as being legal.
Judge Mitchell commended Ms Donnelly for her fair evidence and said that ADHD is a ‘major challenge for parents who love their children and want to do the best for them but noted that the weapon could have caused serious injury.
Solicitor David Tarrant said that his client moved to Arklow with his family in 2010 to avoid negative influences in Dublin.
Judge Mitchell said that he would have to take the 21 previous convictions into account but expressed the view that nothing would be gained by sending the defendant back to prison. He advised Keegan to take whatever medication his GP feels is appropriate and suggested that an anger management course would be of benefit.
He imposed a four-month sentence, suspended for 18 months in the defendant’s own bond of €100.
‘Your mother has impressed me and it is clear she loves you very much. I’m giving you some chance so it is up to you if you use it,’ Judge Mitchell concluded.