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Man who held wife in locked room while brandishing scissors avoids jail

The accused has previous convictions for cultivating cannabis and possession of drugs for sale or supply

James McDermott (55), of Buttercup Avenue, Darndale, at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court, where he received a suspended sentence. PIC: Collins Courts

Brion Hoban

A man who prevented his wife from leaving a locked room while holding two pairs of scissors has received a suspended sentence.

James McDermott (55) was arrested following the incident and released on bail, but gardaí returned to his home the following day after being notified that he had locked his wife and his son in a bedroom.

McDermott, of Buttercup Avenue, Darndale, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to production of two pairs of scissors in the course of a dispute at his address on March 2, 2020.

He has 32 previous convictions, including convictions for cultivation of cannabis or opium poppy, possession of drugs for sale or supply and road traffic offences.

Passing sentence today, Judge Patricia Ryan said the case was aggravated by the serious nature of the charge and the breach of trust.

The judge said the court has been advised the accused enjoys the full support of his family who want him to return to the family home. She said the court accepts this was an out-of-character episode.

Judge Ryan sentenced McDermott to 12 months imprisonment, but suspended the balance of the sentence and gave him credit for all time served. The court heard McDermott was previously remanded in custody for approximately four months.

Detective Garda Paul Kennedy told Edward Doocey BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, he was on patrol when he received notice of an incident and attended at the address in Darndale where he was informed that McDermott had locked his wife in a room.

Det Gda Kennedy said he could hear banging and when he made his way upstairs he could hear shouting and screaming. He said he heard a female voice shout: “Open the door and let me out.”

Gardaí directed the door be opened, but ultimately decided to force entry and knocked the door down. When they entered the room they observed McDermott with two pairs of scissors in his hand, standing between his wife and the door, preventing her from exiting.

McDermott dropped the scissors after gardaí instructed him several times to do so and he was arrested. He was released on bail the following day.

Gardaí again returned to the address on the following day when they were notified that McDermott had locked both his wife and his son in an upstairs bedroom. They were ultimately able to exit the house and McDermott was again arrested.

Det Gda Kennedy agreed with John Moher BL, defending, that his client enjoys the total support of his wife and three children. He agreed McDermott has complied with a condition of his bail that he reside at his mother's address.

The detective agreed with counsel that when he observed his client on the date in question, he was clearly under the influence of something. He agreed that McDermott has been a drug user in the past.

Mr Moher said his client's condition on the night was self-induced, but that he was in the throes of “some sort of episode” brought on by the consumption of cocaine, which he had not taken for a number of years.

Counsel said has worked as a painter and decorator and in security in the past. He said his client has completed a course in horticulture.

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