A garda pulled his gun on a man who was covered in blood and coming at him with a large carving knife on a busy Dublin street, a court has heard.
Ross Maher (22) was topless and covered in blood when he swung the kitchen knife several times at gardaí and refused their repeated commands to drop it, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard today.
Gardaí had been called to Ross Street near Christchurch Cathedral at around 4pm on May 23 last year following reports of a drunk topless man wielding a knife. Several bystanders were present at the time.
Sergeant Niall Godfrey told Fiona Crawford BL, prosecuting, that Maher refused several commands to drop the knife and continued walking towards the officers while brandishing it.
“You made the decision your life and the life of your colleagues and members of the public was in danger and you drew your official firearm,” Ms Crawford said. Sgt Godfrey agreed.
Maher still refused to drop the knife, but his father then intervened and begged him to put the weapon down. Sgt Godfrey used his pepper spray on Maher, causing him to finally drop the knife.
He was arrested and taken to St James's Hospital for treatment.
He pleaded guilty to one count of possessing a large carving knife in the course of a dispute. He has no previous convictions.
The court heard Maher, with an address in Emmet Court, Inchicore, had been drinking and taking pills on the day in question.
He got into a physical fight with his brother in the park near their father's flat. During the dispute, Maher ran into his dad's flat and grabbed the knife before re-emerging with it.
The knife was 12 inches long with a seven inch blade, the court heard.
Following this incident, Maher went into rehabilitation and is now drug-free, Keith Spencer BL, defending, told the court. His father tragically took his own life last November, the court heard.
Sgt Godfrey liaised with Maher in the wake of the tragedy and said Maher apologised to him for the events of the summer and was “a different person”. He held the family together during the funeral and is now closer than ever to his brother, the court heard.
The court heard Maher has applied to join the army and is worried a criminal conviction might affect his chances.
Judge Karen O'Connor said that while it was a serious piece of offending, she believed Maher's actions were a “once-off moment in his life”.
She said she would defer his sentence under the Probation Act and she ordered him to be of good behaviour in the meantime.
Maher's case will return to court for finalisation on November 9.