Yesterday he was jailed for six months as the judge rejected his explanation.
Joseph Cuddigan, defence solicitor, stated that Michael McDonagh, aged 26, from An Sruthain, Castlebar, Co Mayo, was visiting the grounds of St Stephen’s Hospital, Sarsfield Court, Glanmire, when he found the axe lying on the grass.
Judge Marie Keane said: “I do not accept his explanation that he found this on the grass.”
The judge sentenced McDonagh to six months in jail at Cork District Court.
“This a very serious offence and the circumstances giving rise to his arrest were dramatic indeed,” the judge said.
Mr Cuddigan said the accused was pleading guilty to possession of the implement on the occasion. The solicitor said: “The only explanations open to the defendant are that he had it for recreation or work. By no stretch of the imagination could either of those explanations be given for walking around the grounds of Sarsfield’s Court with a sword.”
The judge was previously told that armed gardaí went to the scene on the afternoon of September 29 in response to a call from the garda control room at Anglesea St.
Garda Laura O’Connor arrived and found that armed gardaí from the emergency response unit were already present. One of those officers handcuffed McDonagh because the accused was carrying an axe.
Mr Cuddigan submitted at the first court hearing following McDonagh’s arrest the defendant was not properly before the court on the basis of the solicitor’s allegation that McDonagh had in effect been arrested twice.
Inspector John Deasy said in that court hearing there was no evidence of a member of the emergency response unit arresting him. Judge Marie Keane agreed.
Mr Cuddigan called his client, who then testified that a member of the unit told him to drop the axe and get on the ground. He said he did as he was told and his hands were cuffed behind his back. McDonagh said the only person who told him he was under arrest was Garda O’Connor.
Judge Keane said the accused was properly before the court. Judge Keane remarked at the outset of yesterday’s hearing that she recalled Mr Cuddigan had indicated he was going to bring the matter before the High Court in relation to this aspect of the case. Judge Keane said this was the kind of thing one remembered. Mr Cuddigan said the matter had not been taken to the High Court.