Prison sentence for Leitrim man who went after his brother-in-law with a crow bar and machete on a public street

'It's a miracle someone was not seriously injured or worse', says Judge

Leitrim Observer Reporter


Leitrim Observer Reporter

Dundalk man hit with 15-year driving disqualification and six-month prison term

“It's a miracle that someone was not seriously injured or worse. This is something that cannot be tolerated and a prison sentence must follow,” said Judge Kevin P Kilrane after hearing how a man attacked his brother-in-law with a crowbar and a machete on a busy Carrick-on-Shannon street.
Brian Stokes, Courthouse View, Carrick-on-Shannon, pleaded guilty to two counts of production of an article, one a crow/nail bar and a second involving a machete, capable of inflicting serious injury at Apache Pizza, Quay Road, Carrick-on-Shannon on August 17, 2019 at 10.18pm.
Sgt Mick Gallagher noted the entire incident had been captured on CCTV and he produced a booklet of still images for the court.
He said that two pictures in the evidence were particularly important, namely the ones showing Mr Stokes brandishing a nail bar and another showing him with a machete.
Mr Stokes was arrested as part of an investigation into the incident. When questioned by gardai about the events of August 17, Mr Stokes explained: “I was just drunk, stupid and naive”.
Mr Stokes admitted that he had an altercation with his brother-in-law but claimed he could not remember what happened.
Outlining what was shown on the CCTV and what was subsequently put to Mr Stokes during questioning, Sgt Gallagher said the defendant had arrived at Apache Pizza on Quay Road at 10.18pm in a white Audi driven by his wife.
He attacked a male, later identified as his brother-in-law, with the nail bar.
Members of the public intervened and split up the pair before Mr Stokes again swung the nail bar at his brother-in-law.
The pair grappled and ended up on the ground. Mr Stokes returned to his vehicle and removed a machete from the boot and again approached his brother in-law.
After this he got into the vehicle, driven by his wife and went home.
Speaking on behalf of the defendant, solicitor, John Anderson, said that his client is 34 years of age and a father of two with a third child on the way.
He noted Mr Stokes had recently married, adding his wife had been a “calming influence” on him.
He acknowledged that Mr Stokes had “difficulties” with alcohol and said that he has been attending for counselling.
“The incident was with his brother-in-law and he never made a complaint to gardai,” added Mr Anderson.
He finished by stating that Mr Stokes wished to offer an apology and had €500 in court.
Mr Anderson sought leniency and asked that a custodial sentence not be given in this matter.
Gardai noted Mr Stokes had a number of previous offences including road traffic matters and public order offences.
Handing down his ruling Judge Kevin P Kilrane noted the incident occurred on a busy Saturday night in the Summer tourist season.
He said that the defendant had arrived by car “armed and dangerous” with a nail bar and a machete “the best part of two foot long” in his possession.
“This is not something which arose on the spur of the moment. All the evidence appears to show that this man came to have it out with his brother-in-law,” said Judge Kilrane.
“The people in Carrick-on-Shannon must have been in absolute fear and dread to see this unfolding before their eyes on a very busy Quay road.
“The fact that this type of fracas occurred at 10.30pm is absolutely shocking,” he stated adding the fact Mr Stokes was intoxicated was “no defence”.
He said it was a miracle “that someone was not seriously injured or worse”.
Noting Mr Stokes’s previous suspended sentence for a section 3 assault, Judge Kilrane said “this man is dangerous and capable of violence. He must be sentenced to five months in prison on each charge”. He ordered these sentences be served concurrently.
“This is something that simply cannot be tolerated and a prison sentence must follow”.
Recognisances were set in the event of an appeal.