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Drunk man caught with two knives at shopping centre said they were ‘protection against children’

He told probation he did not know it was an offence to carry a knife in Northern Ireland despite previous conviction

High Street Mall

A man who was found intoxicated in possession of two knives has been sentenced to three months in prison.

The district judge told the 59-year-old: “Knife crime in this country has reached epidemic proportions and is now being treated as a national crisis.”

Ivanas Mikulinas, of Union Street, Portadown pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of an offensive weapon in a public place at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on November 9, at around 4.30pm, police were called to High Street Mall in Portadown regarding reports of a drunken man lying in a shop doorway.

When police arrived, the male was standing but he appeared unsteady on his feet and smelled of intoxicating liquor.

A search of the defendant was conducted during which two knives were found.

During interview, Mikulinas, using an interpreter, claimed these had been for “protection against children”.

Defence barrister David McKeown stated: “This is a difficult plea, given the time of day and the way in which Mr Mikulinas was found this was the result of over-consumption of alcohol.

“What is concerning from the report is what he considered a normal amount of which to consume but he has since toned this down somewhat.”

He added: “He needs a wake-up call as alcohol has had a significant impact on him.”

It was heard that the defendant since 2005 had only one other entry on his record, which is of a similar nature.

Mr McKeown stated: “The other offence was 12 years ago, although it is highly relevant.

“Probation has recommended community-based disposal and he has agreed to this.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “Knife crime in this country has reached epidemic proportions and is now being treated as a national crisis.

“I may have been able to consider the other options outlined in this report until I got to one specific line.”

Court heard that the defendant told probation that he did not know it was an offence to carry a knife in Northern Ireland.

District Judge Kelly stated: “That is clearly not true as you have a previous entry on your record for exactly the same offence.

“With that background, he armed himself with not one but two knives with the intention to use them on another human being if the circumstances arose.”

She continued: “He did so when he was so inebriated that it would have affected his judgement, thereby increasing the risk to any member of the public.”

Mikulinas was sentenced to three months in prison and ordered to pay an offender’s levy of £25.

District Judge Kelly also ordered the destruction of the seized knives.

She stated: “This is in the hope of convincing Mr Mikulinas of the serious nature of carrying knives and the dangers that they can cause.”

Mr McKeown informed the court of the defendant’s wish to appeal the sentence.

Mikulinas was not granted bail pending his appeal.

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