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Ballyfermot man who swung meat cleaver at garda avoids jail

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A man who swung a meat cleaver at a garda and threatened to kill another has been given a suspended sentence.

Daniel Sweeney (28) of Croftwood Gardens, Cherry Orchard, Ballyfermot, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to threatening to kill, intoxication in a public place and producing a meat cleaver after fleeing from gardaí on June 5, 2016.

Yesterday, Judge Karen O’Connor sentenced Sweeney to two-and-a-half years imprisonment for producing the meat cleaver and 18 months for threatening to kill the garda.

Judge O’Connor suspended the entirety of both sentences, which were to run concurrently with each other.

Garda Peter Smith told Sinead McGrath BL, prosecuting, that he received a call while on patrol about a disturbance in Croftwood Gardens.

Gda Smith said that Sweeney attempted to flee on a bike when he saw the garda car approaching. Gda Smith pursued him on foot alongside Garda Cronin.

Sweeney attempted to mount a curb and fell off the bike over the handlebars. Gda Smith ordered Sweeney to get on the ground, at which point Sweeney’s jacket fell from his arms revealing a meat cleaver.

Sweeney swung at Gda Smith, missing him by inches. The two gardaí produced their batons and subdued Sweeney, who was struck on the leg with a baton.

While being brought back to the station in a garda car, Sweeney began shouting and making threats aimed at Gda Cronin.

“You’re dead, wait and see, I’ll get you. I’ll put you to sleep, you’ll end up with my brothers,” Sweeney shouted. Sweeney has two brothers, both deceased, one of whom had died six months before the incident.

In a victim impact statement, Gda Cronin said the incident had had a profound effect upon him and that he always wore a stab-proof vest whenever he left the station.

Keith Spencer BL, defending, told the court that Sweeney suffered from problems with alcohol abuse and was intoxicated during the incident.

Sweeney suffers from depression and is medicated for the condition. He has two children and is currently employed as a casual labourer.

He has 26 previous convictions. The offences include criminal damage, public order offences and 17 convictions for road traffic offences.

Judge O’Connor said the aggravating factors in the case included the serious nature of the weapon, the fact that gardaí were put at risk and that threats were made following the incident.

She said the mitigating factors were Sweeney’s guilty plea, his two children, his history of alcohol abuse and the bereavements he had suffered.

Judge O’Connor concluded her sentencing by saying that the gardaí “should not be exposed to that type of behaviour.”