Man avoids jail after appealing knife brawl sentence

ColeraineCourt9 - Edited
A 62-year-old Coleraine man who was recently given a three months jail term following a street brawl involving knives in the town’s Ballysally estate has avoided jail after appealing the verdict.

At the town’s Magistrates Court in January, Jacob McLaughlin, of Danes Hill Road, in Ballysally, pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing a knife in a public place outside his home in October last year.

At the County Court in Coleraine this week, after his appeal, the three months sentence was suspended for two years.

At the Magistrates Court a prosecutor had previously said police received a report of six males fighting at Danes Hill Road and that some were armed with knives.

The defendant claimed he had ran out with a kitchen knife after alleging a male had “threatened to cut his son’s throat”.

A defence solicitor accepted the incident must have been very frightening to anyone witnessing it.

She said the defendant had been preparing an evening meal when three males turned up at the door of his flat and started shouting aggressively at his son.

The lawyer said McLaughlin’s son had gone outside and had been hit on the face with a beer can and one of the trio who had come to the property had a knife.

She said McLaughlin had ran out after his son and took a knife “for defensive purposes”.

Also at the January court, District Judge Liam McNally said the recent stabbing of two women as they walked in Coleraine town centre meant he would “not tolerate” people carrying knives.

Judge McNally said knife crime was “abhorrent” and could lead to very serious injuries.

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