Man imprisoned for having a knife in public said it was for his protection

Galway Daily courts Man charged with possession of a knife said it was for his protection

A man who was convicted of possessing a knife in public on two separate occasions in recent months claimed that he needed it to protect himself.

Luis Fernades (33), with an address at Tur Uisce, Doughiska appeared before Galway District Court charged with possession of a knife and public order charges.

The first incident occurred on July 4 of this year down at the Spanish Arch shortly after 10pm.

Gardaí received a report from a member of the public that a man was walking around the Spanish Arch with a knife in his hand.

Officers identified Fernandes on cctv footage which showed him with a fork in one pocket and a knife hanging out of the other, however gardaí could not identify the person who called in the complaint.

The prosecution said that cctv also showed him with the knife in his right hand at the Spanish Arch.

In the second incident the court heard that at 4:50pm on August 21 of this year gardaí received a report of a very drunk man on the street in Doughiska.

Upon arriving at the scene they found Fernandes, who was drunk and became aggressive with gardaí, and was subsequently arrested.

Back at Mill St Garda Station a search of his person turned up a large kitchen knife which he said was for his own protection.

Solicitor for the defence Brian Gilmartin said that in the case of the incident at the Spanish Arch Mr Fernandes had been eating at McDonagh’s fish & chip shop beforehand and had left with the cutlery.

Mr Gilmartin told the District Court that his client informed him that he had previously been assaulted and began carrying a knife for his own protection.

“I don’t want to be walking on the street and get attacked. It’s not nice,” Fernandes said in court.

Section 9 of the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act makes it an offence to have “any knife or any other article which has a blade or which is sharply pointed” in a public place.

Judge Mary Fahy asked Mr Gilmartin if his client thought that Galway is “so lawless he needs a knife every time he goes outside.”

Fernandes, who has 37 previous convictions, had failed to appear before the court on September 16 of this year, but was not charged in relation to that.

Judge Fahy noted that every time he was arrested the defendant was drunk, and said that he has “no real concept of the law”.

Fernandes received an eight month prison sentence for the incident at the Spanish Arch, and a five month sentence for having a knife in Doughiska, which are to be served consecutively.

For the Doughiska incident Fernandes also faced public order charges of being extremely intoxicated in public and threatening or abusive behaviour.

For these he was given a €100 fine and a one month concurrent prison sentence respectively.