'highly intoxicated' | 

Dublin landlord who assaulted tenant with knife in row over airsoft rifles avoids jail

Judge Martin Nolan suspended in full a prison term of 21 months

Des Roche

Des Roche

Declan BrennanSunday World

A landlord assaulted his tenant with a knife in a row over the tenant having Airsoft rifles in the property, a court has heard.

Des Roche (60) of Willow Lodge, Booterstown Ave, Booterstown, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to assault causing harm to the injured party, who was renting a room in Roche's home.

After noting that the victim sustained only a minor injury, Judge Martin Nolan suspended in full a prison term of 21 months, on condition that Roche keeps the peace and be of good behaviour for that period.

Garda Alan Butler told Simon Matthews BL, prosecuting, that on October 26, 2021, he responded to a report of an incident at that address and met the tenant and the landlord outside the property.

The court heard that the tenant, a student, had come home to find Roche had gone into his bedroom, which was locked, and found two Airsoft pistols and a rifle. Gda Butler agreed with David Staunton BL, defending, that while these were not firearms, they were “serious looking guns” and that Roche was unhappy about having them in the house.

The tenant was equally upset because his privacy had been invaded, and they began rowing. The victim later told gardai that Roche, who was intoxicated, was behaving erratically and was incoherent in his speech.

He said Roche was telling him, “I will fuck you up.” At one point, Roche picked up a knife and turned towards the victim.

The tenant grabbed Roche's hands and was trying to get him to calm down, and Roche stopped, seemed to realise what he had done and dropped the knife.

The court heard that the tenant sustained temporary marks on his hands from the knife.

He picked up the knife again and left the room, and handed the knife to gardai when they arrived on the scene. Gardai arrested Roche, but he was highly intoxicated and deemed unfit for questioning for six hours.

Des Roche

Mr Staunton submitted that the items held by the tenant would be legally defined as “imitation firearms”. He said his client was sincerely disquieted by their presence in the house.

He said Roche had inherited the home after his mother died and rented a room out to meet expenses and pay off historical debts.

In a victim impact report, the victim said he was scared and was lucky not to be injured. He said he suffered a financial loss because he left the property that day and had to pay for hotel accommodation.

Mr Staunton said his client had picked up the knife in order to intimidate the injured party and had no intention to use it or injure him. He said that Roche, who has no previous convictions, has since gone on to rent the room out, and there have been no incidents.

Judge Nolan said the defendant and the injured party had a physical altercation. He noted that the victim didn't sustain any great injury as a result of the altercation.

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