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crack addict 'Under threat' drug counsellor had hammer and knife, court hears

Man had knife and hammer on city street


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A DRUGS counsellor caught carrying a knife and hammer tool on a city street had gone from "rags to riches and back again", a court has heard.

Gary O'Toole (46) had relapsed on crack cocaine and found himself homeless at the time he was caught with the weapons.

He was given a nine-month suspended sentence at Dublin District Court.

O'Toole, of Oriel Street Lower, Dublin 1, pleaded guilty to possession of weapons on January 19, 2020.

The court heard it was reported a man was walking up Amiens Street at 10.45am with a hammer in his hand.

When gardaí stopped O'Toole, they saw it was a multi-tool with a hammer head attachment. He also had a flick knife in his pocket.

He told gardaí his life was under threat and that was why he had the knife.

O'Toole had 11 previous convictions. He had been addicted to drugs, but got off them and became a drug counsellor, his solicitor Yvonne Bambury told Judge Bryan Smyth.

However, he relapsed and ended up living on the street at his "absolute nadir".

He had gone "from rags to riches and back again", Ms Bambury said.

O'Toole had returned to treatment in Ireland and the UK, kept up his progress and now had a job on a construction site.

He now had every prospect of maintaining a lifestyle that would be beneficial to himself and others, as he had before the relapse, Ms Bambury said.

The judge said he was taking account of the progress the accused had made and suspended the nine-month sentence for two years.

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