Man had slash-hook outside school

A six-month jail sentence was imposed yesterday on a man who had a slash-hook in a car outside a school.

He claimed he only had the slash-hook to give to his brother for tending to three horses. He said the horses sometimes escaped from the field they were in and the slash-hook was used to cut through ditches to get them back and stop them harming themselves.

That was the explanation given by 30-year-old John Heaphy, of 20 Willison Meadows, Tower, Blarney, at Cork District Court.

Garda Des Prendergast was on duty at Blarney St, Cork, at 9.10am on December 17 last when a car causing an obstruction outside a school on the street came to his attention.

He directed the female driver to pull over. The front seat passenger, John Heaphy, got out to tend to a child in the back of the car.

Garda Prendergast noticed the long-handled slash-hook on the floor of the car where Heaphy had been sitting.

Garda Prendergast went around and seized the slash-hook.

“John Heaphy grabbed on to the slash-hook and tried to pull it away from me. I don’t think it was out of aggression, I think he was trying to dispose of it. I told him I would use incapacitant spray if he did not desist. He then dropped it,” said Garda Prendergast yesterday.

Afterwards, Heaphy did become aggressive and Garda Prendergast said it was only with the assistance of his colleagues who arrived on the scene that he was able to handcuff Heaphy.

Diarmuid Kelleher, defending, said Heaphy explained at the time that he needed the slash-hook to tend to horses. Heaphy said in court that he kept three horses at a rented field and needed the slash-hook to cut through ditches on occasion. He said he was dropping the hook to his brother that morning as he would be dealing with the horses that day.

Judge Olann Kelleher convicted Heaphy of having the slash-hook as a weapon.

Inspector John Deasy said the accused had two previous convictions for this type of offence in the past.

Heaphy was sentenced to six months in jail. He shouted at gardaí as he was being escorted from the courtroom after the sentence was imposed.


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