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Cut it out Grandad caught carrying meat cleaver on street 'for his own protection' avoids jail

William Flanagan (44) had the knife in a bag when he was stopped by gardaí on a city centre street

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William Flanagan had the knife in a bag when stopped by gardaí

William Flanagan had the knife in a bag when stopped by gardaí

William Flanagan had the knife in a bag when stopped by gardaí

A grandfather caught carrying a meat cleaver "for his own protection" has been spared jail.

William Flanagan (44) had the knife in a bag when he was stopped by gardaí on a city centre street.

Judge Bryan Smyth gave him an eight-month suspended sentence. The accused, of Gardiner Street, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon, sale or supply of drugs and theft charges.

Dublin District Court heard gardaí saw the accused on Fitzgibbon Street, where he was wearing a scarf covering his face, on September 7, 2019.

He was searched and a meat cleaver was found in his bag. He told gardaí it was for his own protection.

On July 8 that year, he had €800 of heroin on him when he was arrested in a private underground car park at Great Strand Street.

On August 20, 2019, he was caught leaving the Cotswold outdoor shop on Trinity Street with a bag "stuffed" with stolen coats and other goods.

Flanagan's solicitor Yvonne Bambury said the accused had a history of drug addiction but had been clean for 10 years. At the time of the offences, he found himself homeless and moving from hostel to hostel, and became addicted again.

Testimonials were handed in to court and Ms Bambury said Flanagan had engaged with available services.

A probation report was favourable and he had not come to garda attention since.

Judge Smyth said a custodial sentence was "probably warranted" but suspended it for two years.

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