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Newry man who wielded machete to ‘defend himself’ jailed

During the incident, he spat at police and on a police vehicle before he was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital due to his level of intoxication

A Newry man who wielded a machete in the street to “defend himself” after accosting a dangerous driver has been jailed.

At Newry Magistrates’ Court, Sean Michael McAvoy, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to three months in prison for two common assaults, possession of an offensive weapon and two counts of assault on police.

A prosecution lawyer told the court that police were called to an incident in the Hollyridge Lane area of the city on July 30 of this year.

When officers arrived, the 31-year-old defendant was carrying a machete. When challenged by police, McAvoy dropped it over a fence on to waste ground.

During the incident, McAvoy spat at police and on a police vehicle before he was taken to Daisy Hill Hospital due to his level of intoxication.

Whilst there he assaulted police, again kicking and striking an officer in the leg.

McAvoy’s defence solicitor told the court that his client had been in custody since July having been unable to find a suitable bail address.

The solicitor said: “He paid heavily for being in custody for this because it meant that he could not engage with [a previous] combination order that was imposed by Newry Crown Court. The court felt that it had to impose an immediate custodial sentence because he couldn’t engage in that and he received an eight month sentence for that. [As a result] he had built up no time on remand for the matter before the court.”

He added: “Approximately 93 of the offences in the record were committed between 2010 and 2015.”

And he stated that his client “became unmanageable as a teenager and was completely out of control”.

The court heard that in and around 2015 there were two significant changes in his life. One was that he moved away from Newry, and that he met a partner and had two children.

His defence claimed that “there was a very large downward trend in his record” thereafter.

“Unfortunately, then that relationship broke down and he lost contact with his children and needed to move back to Newry and that led to the more recent matters …it was a complete reversion back to the way he had been used before.”

Deputy District Judge Peter Prenter asked the defence to explain the possession of a machete.

The defence solicitor explained that a co-accused was before the courts for driving dangerously, explaining that he was driving the car in the street where McAvoy’s sister lived.

He said: “Mr McAvoy had accosted the co-accused and told him to stop driving like that. There was a number of people coming out on the street; a number of them who Mr McAvoy was in fear of…he lived a short distance away and brought [the machete] out onto the street, he says, to defend himself and those that he knew in the street. He didn’t use it and he obviously dropped it as soon as police arrived.”

McAvoy was handed three months in prison on each count, all to run concurrently with each other.

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