A Good Samaritan who was concerned about a girl screaming outside his house when she was under attack from two men took a long samurai sword from over his fireplace to frighten off the woman’s attackers.
However, what he perceived as a paternal and protective act resulted in him being prosecuted for carrying the weapon in a public place.
Canadian Frank Reissi Nia, who studied martial arts and is a black belt in two disciplines from 16 years spent living in Japan, pleaded not guilty to the charge at Cork District Court. He had been awarded the samurai sword for his achievements in martial arts.
While he pleaded not guilty, he told Garda Claire Sheehan immediately afterwards that he had been concerned about the young woman and brought the sword — which he described as blunt and decorative — on to Albert Rd outside his home at Hibernian Buildings, Cork, to frighten away the two men.
He repeated this in evidence at Cork District Court yesterday.
“I just wanted to shoo them away,” he said. “They were threatening, they were shouting. He [one of two men outside the house] just kept shouting to the girl ‘I will kill you’ or something like that.
“It was like a movie. They only thing they were missing was an AK47.”
Cross-examined by Insp Adrian Gamble about taking a samurai sword out on to the street, the defendant said: “I was just thinking of the welfare of that girl. She was crying. It was frightening to think he would harm that little girl.”
He said he just held the sword over his head to frighten off the two men and held one of them down until gardaí arrived at around midnight on Sunday, May 3, 2015.
“It was the biggest mistake I have every done in my life. I was told not to do it again. Next time I would just call the guard,” the defendant said.
Defence counsel said: “He did what he could do to bring peace to a chaotic situation.”
Judge Olann Kelleher accepted that it was a very unusual case that arose out of a very chaotic situation.
“This man says he was out there to protect a young woman being manhandled by a male friend,” said the judge.
“Months earlier he had lost his son. His over-riding sympathy was with the young girl and he was trying to protect her.
“He is, however, out on the public road with a sword. I found him very honest and decent and his neighbours say likewise. He had no mens rea to use it.
“He is full of remorse now. This was an unusual case. Everyone seems to think this man was a decent man.”
The judge said he found the facts proved but dismissed the charge under the Probation of Offenders Act.
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