The first Covid lockdown was blamed as one of the factors that caused a period of madness for a Cork family where a 21-year-old man threatened to stab his mother and put her in a graveyard.
The case which dates back to April 2020 was back before an in camera hearing of Cork District Court following a number of adjournments.
The accused man and his mother sat side by side in court for the case where Judge Olann Kelleher was told there had been a dramatic turnaround.
Sergeant Pat Lyons outlined the evidence of four breaches of the Domestic Violence Act from April last year and one for carrying a knife in Cork city around the same time.
Judge Kelleher asked the defendant’s mother to give evidence of how it has been since this time.
The witness was tearful at first as she was reminded of all of the allegations against her son: “It is like you are talking about someone else. We never had something like this before or since. We had normal family life. And we had a few weeks of madness.
“Lockdown had a huge part in it – the sunshine and lockdown and drink. Those few weeks were madness.”
Judge Kelleher noted from reports handed in by defence solicitor Frank Buttimer that the young man is back playing sport, he is working and is living at home.
Judge Kelleher said to the defendant’s mother, “You feel he is over all this?” She replied, “100%, yes.”
The judge said it was a very serious matter at the time.
Mr Buttimer said the accused was remanded in custody for a period after that because of the seriousness.
The defendant’s mother said the family were very grateful to the gardaí, and to Judge Kelleher for giving them the opportunity. Mr Buttimer said the court’s approach had been extremely helpful in terms of encouragement and it had paid dividends.
The defendant was invited to speak directly to the judge. He said, “I feel like I am in a completely different headspace. I am a lot more comfortable in myself,” and he went on to talk about plans he had in respect of work and travel.
The judge said the case would normally warrant a prison sentence but he said he would put sentencing back for another four months and if everything was alright at the stage, “I will deal with it in a way that will be a benefit to everybody.”
The identity of the parties cannot be published as the charges relate to a breach of domestic violence laws which are dealt with at in camera hearings.
He pleaded guilty to four counts of breaching a protection order by putting his mother in fear at the family home, including the occasion where he made the threat to stab his mother and put her in the graveyard.
Mr Buttimer solicitor said the 21-year-old had been taking drugs for four years, including cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, LSD and some other type of hallucinogenic drug. Mr Buttimer said the 21-year-old had a severe psychotic episode, as a result of which he had to be admitted to a psychiatric unit.