Ex-politician gets suspended term for having knife
on 07/03/2013 00:00:00
"It is important that people who carry knives know they are at risk of prison. It is necessary for the protection of the people of Cork."
The judge then imposed the six-month term on Gary O'Flynn of Hayfield Drive, Castle Court, Whitechurch, Co Cork, and suspended it on condition that he would keep the peace for the next two years. On charges of being drunk and a danger, and being threatening, abusive, or insulting during an incident inside and outside Gorby's nightclub on Oliver Plunkett St, Cork, on Feb 26, 2011, he was fined €300 and €500 respectively.
The trial took place in December and when it came before the court for sentencing in January, Judge Kelleher said: "I am concerned about one thing. I have gone over all my notes of the trial and I am not satisfied to go ahead without some psychiatric report. I am genuinely concerned about the manner in which he gave evidence and the manner in which he answered questions. It was a very unusual way to give evidence with so much at stake for him. I think it would be unfair to him [to impose penalty] without some kind of report."
Ray Boland, defending, confirmed yesterday that such a report was before the court yesterday.
Mr Boland referred to a comment made by O'Flynn, aged 37, when he was caught with the knife, namely, "I have it for my own protection, I have used it before and I will use it again".
Mr Boland said the defendant's previous good character and absence of previous convictions were evidence that there was nothing in the comment. The barrister said it should be seen in the context of observations in the psychiatric report.
The barrister asked the judge to take into consideration the remorse shown by O'Flynn who had written a letter of apology to those affected by his behaviour on the night at Gorby's.
Mr Boland said the defendant and his family had suffered as a result of the high level of publicity. He said some media reports inaccurately referred to a flick-knife when it was actually a penknife with a bent tip.
The barrister acknowledged that the conviction for having a knife was the most serious and carried a possible one-year jail sentence. However, Mr Boland submitted that it was important to note that the knife was not produced during the earlier incident or at any time.
He also submitted that the public order offences were at the lower end of the scale.
The incident that gave rise to the case occurred when O'Flynn was approached by the owner, Niall Kearney, after a woman said the defendant had thrown drink over her - an allegation refuted by O'Flynn and never pursued by the woman who initially complained.
Mr Kearney testified: "He basically told me to fuck myself. He said, 'Get out of my face, I am not going anywhere for you'. He said, 'I am a practicing solicitor, try and make me leave'."
Sgt Shane Ellis and Garda Kieran O'Donovan responded to the incident and found the defendant refusing to leave.
Garda O'Donovan, now retired, said in all his years in the force the defendant was the most arrogant man he had met. Judge Kelleher said yesterday that he was not going to go over all the evidence from the case but he did refer to the latter comment from the garda.