A 43-year-old man who claimed an axe found under the driver’s seat of his car was used to chop up branches from a local forest for firewood, was convicted and given a three month suspended sentence at Dundalk district court last week.
Robert Keelan with an address at Assumption Place, Dundalk had pleaded not guilty to possession of an offensive weapon on the Inner Relief Road, Dundalk on September 27th last year.
The court heard last Wednesday that gardai stopped the defendant at 5.25am after noticing damage to the front of the Volkswagen Golf he was driving.
The investigating garda said she could smell what she believed to be cannabis and searched the car under the Misuse of Drugs Act. Although no drugs were found, an axe was recovered from under the driver's seat and Robert Keelan gave no reason for having it.
He was subsequently arrested and made no reply when the charge was subsequently put to him after caution.
The Defence solicitor said his client - who had trained as a carpenter, had hurt his arm at work and was quite debilitated at the time.
He added that two weeks later when gardai searched his house, they found carpenters tools.
Robert Keelan under oath said he had the axe for chopping up loose branches he'd found in Ravensdale, for use as firewood.
When Insp Liam Archbold asked him what he had used the axe for in his work as a carpenter, the defendant claimed he would use it to remove old joists.
He also claimed he forgot the axe was there when Insp. Archbold suggested the axe was under the seat for quick access.
Judge John Cheatle said the explanation was unconvincing and the case had proved his case.
After hearing the defendant had a number of previous convictions including having drugs for sale or supply and possession of an offensive weapon, Judge Cheatle imposed a three month sentence, suspended for 12 months which he said he could appeal on his own bond of €100.