Knife crime is ‘national crisis’ judge tells court

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A 59-year-old man found with two knives was given a three month prison sentence last Wednesday at Craigavon Magistrates Court.

He was Ivanas Mikulinas, Union Street, Portadown.

At a previous court he admitted two charges of possession on a offensive weapon, a knife, on November 9 last year.

A prosecutor said at 4.30pm police were called to the High Street Mall in Portadown. They saw the defendant who was unsteady on his feet and smelled of intoxicating liquor. Two knives were found in his possession and when interviewed he said he had them for protection.

A barrister representing the defendant said he had a problem with the consumption of alcohol. He added that there was a recommendation in the report for a community based disposal and this would benefit the defendant.

District Judge, Mrs Bernie Kelly, said that knife crime had reached epidemic proportions and was now treated as a matter of national crisis.

She added that she may have been able to consider some alternative options until she got to a line in the report where the defendant said he was unaware it was illegal to have knives in Northern Ireland.

“That’s clearly not true because the previous entry on his record is for exactly the same offence,” said the judge.

“It’s clear to me with that background he deliberately armed himself with two, not one, knives with intent to use on another human being if the circumstance arose.

“He was so inebriated that it would have affected his judgement, increasing the risk to any member of the public.”

Judge Kelly sentenced Mikulinas to concurrent three month terms and ordered him to pay a £25 offender’s levy.

She also ordered destruction orders for the knives.

The judge added she hoped this would bring home to the defendant the seriousness of carrying knives and the damage they can cause. Bail for appeal was set but the defendant was not released pending appeal.