A Romanian man caught in possession of a knife claimed he only had it for paring apples and today he was given a one-month jail term - suspended on condition that he would leave the country.
Valentin Lostun, 47, of an apartment at 52 Lower Glanmire Road, Cork, pleaded guilty to three charges when he appeared at Cork District Court. Those charges were of shoplifting on one occasion; begging on another; and carrying a knife, contrary to the Offensive Weapons Act.
His solicitor, Eddie Burke, said: “He was using the knife for paring apples and whatnot.”
Mr Burke added in relation to the Romanian defendant: “He trots out the comment one often hears that it is not illegal to have them in his home country.”
Mr Burke said that the defendant has been in and out of accommodation with the Simon community in Cork but that now he is not drinking and is being supported by friends and living with friends.
However, on further instructions during the case Mr Burke said the accused had just indicated that he has a travel ticket to leave Ireland today and is anxious to return home for good.
Judge John King said the most serious charge faced by Lostun was the count in respect of the knife. The judge said he would impose a one-month jail term suspended on condition that the defendant would leave the country immediately and not return in the next two years.
Sergeant Gearóid Davis outlined the background to the offences. He said, “At 12.50pm on April 15, 2018 Valentin Lostun entered Lidl on Cornmarket Street and selected alcohol valued at €13 and left the store, passing all points of payment without offering same.”
In the course of a routine search at the time of his arrest at Lidl a knife was found in his possession.
Sergeant Davis said: “On November 5, 2018 at 3pm Valentin Lostun was on Nano Nagle Bridge, and was actively begging and blocking the free passage of pedestrians. The bridge was busy at the time and he was arrested for the offence."
The charge stated that on April 15, 2018 he had a knife which had a blade or was sharply pointed contrary to the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.
When the judge imposed the one-month suspended jail term he said he would take the other charges, namely the begging and shoplifting, into consideration.