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Man found with knife on night out claimed it was his ‘protection weapon’

A Magheralin man who claimed a knife he had with him on a night out was his “protection weapon” has been given a conditional discharge.

Jason David Irwin, 28, of Ballymacbredan Road pleaded guilty to possession of a knife in a public place and two counts of possession of class C drugs at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The incident occurred on February 4, when police were called by ambulance staff at around 12.55am to Market Street in Lurgan, to a report of male feeling unwell through drink or drugs.

The paramedic found ID, a knife and a bag of tablets on the defendant’s person.

When the ambulance member found the 9.5cm lock knife, Irwin told him “that is my protection weapon”.

The tablets were later identified as right blue diazepam and one Xanax.

Court heard the defendant had been involved in a serious assault at a house party earlier this year which left him needing 13 stitches in his head.

Defence counsel stated this had been his first night out since that assault and he had to have his “arm twisted even on this occasion”.

He added that Irwin, in his stress, had lifted the knife for defensive reasons but accepted this was “not the way he ought to have dealt with it”.

It was heard the defendant was a manufacturer for Intel and had a very limited record.

Deputy District Judge Trevor Browne said that the knife “was a lethal looking weapon but this was less serious as you were not someone going out looking for a fight”.

Irwin was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay a fine of £100, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within eight weeks.

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