A homeless man was jailed for four months for carrying a knife even though his solicitor said the man would have had legitimate reasons for having the knife to prepare and cut food as he was living in a tent.
35-year-old Paul Bulman pleaded guilty to the unlawful possession of a knife at Clontarf Street, Cork, on July 8.
His solicitor, Frank Buttimer, said that the defendant was prosecuted for the offence, purely on the basis of his own admissions and his comment to a garda that as well as having the knife for other reasons he had it for his own protection.
Judge Olann Kelleher accepted the submissions from Mr Buttimer that the defendant had improved his life substantially but against that, he had 127 previous convictions including 62 for burglary. And this latest offence of carrying a knife was his fourth such count.
“He said he had it for his own protection. I agree he has improved himself somewhat but in view of the difficulties with knives in the city I sentence him to four months in prison,” Judge Kelleher said.
Mr Buttimer said the accused was presently living at the Simon Community in Cork but at the time of the offence he had been living in a tent.
The solicitor said that even though he had the knife for his own protection he would have had it for the legitimate purpose related to preparing food while living in a tent.
“In that sense he had it because he was unfortunate enough to be homeless,” Mr Buttimer said.
He added that it was through his own admissions that it had been possible to prosecute him.
“His life has improved since. Not only is he residing in Simon which is a significant step for him but he is also accessing Simon facilities,” the solicitor said.