Limavady man had balaclava and hunting-style knife

Limavady Courthouse

Limavady Courthouse

A 23-year-old Limavady man wearing a balaclava and in possession of what police described as “a large hunting-style knife” at a bonfire has been jailed for four months.

Damien James Anthony Nicholson from Woodland Walk, was sentenced at Limavady Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday for possession of a hunting style knife on August 16, 2015, in the area of Glenview Drive in the town.

The court heard at 10 past midnight on the date in question police were in Glenview Drive where there was a disturbance at the bonfire. They saw Nicholson cross the road, swinging out with both hands, and wearing a balaclava. Police found a large, hunting-style knife on the ground where Nicholson was.

Nicholson initially denied knowledge of the knife, but when police told him his DNA was found on the object he said the only explanation for that was that he had assisted in building the bonfire and he could have used it.

Defence barrister, Steven Mooney, said individuals at the bonfire were in “an inebriated state”, and they all were of the same religious persuasion so it was “not a sectarian hostility-based crime”.

Mr. Mooney said his instructions were that “my client and these people were messing around”.

The court also heard Nicholson said he was using the knife to cut sticks for the bonfire.

District Judge Liam McNally said: “The offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate”.

The judge noted Nicholson’s previous convictions for similar offences, and said the fact Nicholson had been wearing a balaclava and was swinging his arms about were “sinister matters”.