A man who was dressed up as the cartoon character ‘The Joker’ was found to be in possession of a knife when he was arrested on Halloween Night in Carrick-on-Shannon.
Robert Moore, 3 Archway Apartments, Bridge St, Carrick-on-Shannon appeared in Carrick-on-Shannon District Court charged with the offence and with being intoxicated in public on October 31, 2018 at Main St, Carrick-on-Shannon.
Garda Niall McDonnell gave evidence that at 10.05pm on that date he received a call that a male with green hair and a black suit was acting suspiciously in Dunne’s Bar.
He spoke with the bar staff and a man exited the bar that fitted the description. Garda McDonnell challenged him but he didn’t respond. He searched him and found a knife in his waistband at the small of his back.
He said Mr Moore was unable to converse with him and appeared quite intoxicated.
He was unable to give his name or details and he was arrested and taken to the garda station where a hip flask was found inside his coat. Garda McDonnell said Mr Moore became entirely compliant in the station.
Asked by solicitor for the defendant, Martin Burke, if he asked Mr Moore if he was on any medication, Garda McDonnell said no.
Mr Burke said Mr Moore was on a lot of medication and it can result in slurred speech.
Garda McDonnell said he didn’t accept the issues with Mr Moore weren’t intoxication and he said that on the night Mr Moore was drunk which he felt was further proved by the discovery of the hip flask on him.
Mr Burke put it to him that a knife or imitation knife was a common accessory for The Joker’s character to carry. Garda McDonnell said he wouldn’t know.
He said he went into the pub and informed Mr Moore’s girlfriend, who was also in fancy dress, what had happened and where he was being brought. He was released into her custody 45 minutes later.
Garda McDonnell said the town was quiet that night and he didn’t recall anyone else in costume. He recalled there was a fancy dress function earlier that night in Murtagh’s.
Mr Moore told the court he was on four different types of medication for panic attacks and anxiety and when he gets a panic attack it makes his speech worse.
Judge Kilrane explained intoxication can be caused by alcohol or drugs, legal and illegal.
Mr Moore said he did have a couple of drinks but he wasn’t intoxicated. He was dressed as The Joker from Suicide Squad and was at a Halloween party earlier that night in The Basement.
He accepted he had a knife on the night but insisted it was part of his costume and he wouldn’t use it for any other purpose.
“It was an extremely stupid thing to do and I’m sorry for doing it,” he said.
He added he had the knife in his kitchen and couldn’t find a fake one so it was “a last minute thing.”
Mr Burke applied for a direction in relation to the possession of a knife prosecution. He said Mr Moore gave clear evidence it was part of a fancy dress outfit, “albeit it was a rather stupid mistake to make.”
He said there was no suggestion by the State that it was used to intimidate or the belief that it might be used for that reason, and the State also accepted he was in a recreational outfit.
Judge Kilrane said the fancy dress party was in Murtagh’s, not in Dunne’s, and there was no evidence of fancy dress there at all or of any organised recreation. He found the State had proved its case.
In relation to the intoxication charge, Judge Kilrane said he was more doubtful about that. He said that while undoubtedly he had alcohol taken and showed the effects, there was no evidence he was unsteady and he dismissed the charge.
The court heard Mr Moore has five previous convictions for drugs offences, handling stolen goods, theft and aggravated burglary.
Mr Burke said he is 37-years-old and on methadone treatment. He said the previous convictions go back a very, very long way and he has not been involved in serious crime in a long time.
He said Mr Moore is addressing his addiction and is not using. He said he has learned a very big lesson and asked the judge to be as lenient as possible.
Judge Kilrane said to produce that sort of weapon in a licensed premises could bring fear and dread and was completely unacceptable. However, he thought it was more foolishness than anything else.
“He had alcohol and medication taken and I suspect he had some other substance taken,” he said.
“I can’t have a situation where people are allowed to bring knives like that into a licensed premises,” he added.
He convicted and fined Mr Moore €300 for the offence and ordered the return of the knife to him if no appeal was lodged.