A man who was arrested after having a drunken row with a woman in the street claimed that a knife found in his possession was for his own protection as he had been homeless and “living hand to mouth”.
He was charged with theft from Tesco, Portlaoise on 5 September, being intoxicated in a public place and using threatening or abusive behaviour at Market Square, Portlaoise and to possession of a knife at Portlaoise Garda Station on 8 September.
Garda Sergeant JJ Kirby told the court that on 8 September at Market Square, Portlaoise the 40-year-old defendant was involved in a physical altercation with a female. They were both intoxicated. Members of the public tried to intervene, but the defendant continued to be abusive to both the woman and the gardaí.
The defendant was later searched and a three-inch retractable blade was found in his backpack. When asked why he had the blade, the defendant said: “I don’t know.”
On 5 September, the man entered the Tesco store in Portlaoise and stole alcohol valued at €36. The property was not recovered.
The defendant had no previous convictions, but had received an adult caution before. Solicitor Barry Fitzgerald said that his client had issues with alcohol and had been homeless.
“He was desperate for the alcohol,” said Mr Fitzgerald, adding that the defendant could not make good the loss to the store.
Concerning the possession of the knife, Mr Fitzgerald said the defendant had been “living hand to mouth” and had the knife for his own protection.
Judge Catherine Staines said that the defendant was “clearly an alcoholic” and warned that if he commits further offences the court would have no option but to send him to prison.
The matter was adjourned to 16 December next for a probation report.