Cork man found carrying knife claimed it was gift for his grandfather 

The court heard the man had 86 previous convictions.
Cork man found carrying knife claimed it was gift for his grandfather 

The defendant has been convicted and sentenced to three months in prison for carrying a knife in a public place in Cork city.

A CORK man convicted of carrying a knife in a sheath claimed that he had just bought the weapon as a gift for his grandfather who had fought in Congo and served many years in the Irish army.

Frank Buttimer, solicitor, said during a submission on the case on behalf of Stephen Donovan that nobody would be able to buy a knife for legitimate purposes in Cork, put it in their bag, and walk home with it.

The defendant has been convicted and sentenced to three months in prison for carrying a knife in a public place in Cork city.

Stephen Donovan, of no fixed address, contested the case against him for carrying a knife without a lawful purpose.

Garda Lorraine O’Donovan stopped the 38-year-old at Little Hanover St on December 23, 2021, at 10.15am.

Garda O’Donovan said: “I saw him approaching me on the street and noticed an immediate change in his demeanour. 

"I could physically see his hands shaking. He was avoiding eye contact.

“I know him for a considerable time. I had reasonable grounds to search him under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

“I searched him for drugs. I searched his backpack. There was a box and there was a knife inside in a sheath.

“I asked him why he had the knife I found on him.

“He replied, ‘I bought the knife in North Main St. 

"It was €40. It was for my grandfather. I don’t use weapons anyway.’”

Mr Buttimer said that like Garda O’Donovan, he has known Stephen Donovan for a long period of time and said he had chronic alcohol concerns.

Garda Donovan agreed and said: “I know he is fond of alcohol. I have met him numerous times with bottles and naggins.”

Mr Buttimer said that in relation to shakes in the defendant’s hands: “He is that way when he has alcohol difficulties.”

The solicitor said at one stage during his cross-examination: “I could nearly give evidence myself.”

Judge Olann Kelleher remarked: “You are.”

Mr Buttimer put it to Garda O’Donovan that she jumped to a conclusion on the day and that the defendant had a legitimate reason for buying the knife and having it in his backpack.

“His grandfather was in the military and has an interest in knives. It has some unusual appearance to it. He [Stephen Donovan] thought it would be a nice gift,” Mr Buttimer said.

Donovan gave evidence in his own defence, saying: “I bought the knife at 10.30 in the morning. It was for a Christmas present for my grandfather. He is 90. He was… in the army for 40 years. I didn’t pay €40 for it. I paid €80 for it.

“He has a lot of military stuff, including knives. He was in the Congo. I had a receipt. It was in my bag somewhere.”

In his judgment of the case, Judge Olann Kelleher said: “Garda O’Donovan is experienced on the streets of Cork. She knew Mr Donovan and speaks very well of him in many ways.

“She is the woman on the ground who understands such matters.

“He is carrying a knife in a public place. I convict.”

Sergeant Gearóid Davis said Stephen Donovan had 86 previous convictions but none for firearms. Judge Kelleher imposed a prison sentence of three months, backdated to June 2 as Donovan has been in custody since that date.

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