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22 May 2022

Longford man on knife charge given Probation Act

Longford Courthouse.

Longford Courthouse

A man who was found walking with a knife on the main N4 and given a four month suspended sentence the District Court, has been given the benefit of the Probation Act.

Denis Afromegevs, with an address at 70 Gleann Riada, Longford was handed a four months prison term, suspended for three years at Longford District Court on February 23 last year.

That came after the 34-year-old was stopped by gardaí as he made his way along the main N4 at around 9pm on October 19, 2019.

Detective Garda Damien McGovern said he was on patrol that evening when he spotted the defendant wearing dark clothes.

Upon speaking to Mr Afromegevs, Det Garda McGovern said the accused produced ID but was “evasive and disorientated” when revealing his address.

Det Garda McGovern said he proceeded to search Mr Afromegevs and looked inside a backpack which contained a large silver kitchen knife, a clawhammer and vice grips.

Asked as to why he had the items in his possession, Mr Afromegevs said he required them for work he had been carrying out as a mechanic.

Counsel for Mr Afromegevs, Niall Flynn BL called into question the rationale gardaí had used in stopping and searching his client.

“Gardaí do have various powers in speaking to members of the public in relation to pursuing a line of inquiry,” he said.

“There is no evidence given that suggested Mr Afromegevs was a danger to himself or anyone else.

“There is no evidence which would underpin that the defendant was in the possession of drugs and in those cirumstances it was unlawful.”

Mr Flynn also argued Mr Afromegevs was not adequately informed as to the reasons for the search.

State solicitor Mark Connellan argued the search conducted by Detective Garda McGovern was “perfectly normal”.

Mr Connellan also pressed Mr Afromegevs as to why he was so far away from his point of residence and why he had chosen to plead guilty in the District Court.

In broken English, Mr Afromegevs said he had needed the items found to carry out works on a number of cars in a public parkspace outside his former placeof work, Pit Stop along Longford's main Athlone Road.

In his final submission, Mr Flynn said his client was a man who was resident in Ireland for the past three years and despite having some previous convictions for road traffic related offences, none of those involved the possession of articles.

He also argued Mr Afromegevs was a man who had a strong work ethic who now lived in Clondra and routinely travelled on a daily basis to his current employer in Castlepollard.

In light of those factors, Judge Keenan Johnson afforded Mr Afromegevs Section 1 (2) of the Probation Offenders Act.

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