29 Jun 2022

Father of five jailed for stabbing his brother after card game dispute

Father of five jailed for stabbing his brother after card game dispute

A father of five who stabbed his brother four times following a “trivial dispute” has been jailed for nine months.

Michael Lawrence (40) drove to his brother's estate and stabbed him four times in his upper arm after a dispute occurred the previous day during a game of cards.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the accused has “mended his fences with his brother” to the extent that they stay away from each other.

Lawrence, of Suncroft Drive, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm and driving without insurance at Glenshane Park, Tallaght, on June 13, 2020. He has 23 previous convictions for public order and road traffic offences.

Garda Bernard Briody told Lisa Dempsey BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, the accused's brother, Thomas Lawrence, was in a car with his wife and six children when he saw the accused man driving into his estate.

Gda Briody said Lawrence, the accused man, got out of his car with a knife and ran over to his brother who was still inside his car and had his window down. Lawrence swung the knife at his brother six or seven times and stabbed him on several occasions.

Lawrence fled the scene and the victim was brought to hospital where his injuries were treated by a triage nurse. He was found to have four stab wounds to his upper right arm.

In interview with gardaí, Lawrence said he did not have any issues with other members of his family and admitted he did not have motor insurance. The court heard he had no driving licence at the time of the incident.

Gda Briody told Kieran Kelly BL, defending, that the injuries sustained had the potential to be “massively serious”, but in the end they were not serious.

The garda agreed with counsel that there had been some sort of dispute during a gathering and a game of cards. He agreed there was no suggestion of an ongoing feud.

Gda Briody agreed that the injured party had written a letter on behalf of his brother that was before the court.

Mr Kelly said there was a letter of apology before the court from his client who says it will never happen again. He said his client is married and has five children.

Counsel submitted that “on paper it looks worse than it is” and that it is a “minor injury” in terms of an offence of this kind. He submitted that what could have happened had his client done something else is not an issue and asked the court to be as lenient as possible.

Judge Martin Nolan said that on the particular date it seems Lawrence was in “a very bad temper”. He said it seems there was a “trivial dispute” between the brothers and by reason of this the accused man decided to attack his brother.

Judge Nolan said that “thankfully for everybody” the injuries sustained were “relatively minor”. He said it seems the accused has “mended his fences with his brother” to the extent that they stay away from each other.

He said the court always takes “a dim view” of assaults with knives and it seems Lawrence brought the knife with him. He said he cannot accede to the request for a non-custodial sentence.

Judge Nolan sentenced Lawrence to two years imprisonment, but suspended the final 15 months on strict conditions. He also disqualified Lawrence from driving for three years.

“Mr Lawrence, you just cannot attack someone with a knife,” Judge Nolan said after passing sentence.

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