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Community service and probation for man found with cocaine, cannabis, knife and hatchet in car

In a second interview he claimed to have only said the items were his as he was already in trouble

Armagh Courthouse

An Armagh man who had cocaine, cannabis and a knife in a car has been sentenced to community service and probation.

The 25-year-old’s barrister told court that his client was “aware that he has put himself in the crosshairs of immediate custody”.

Thomas Lester, of Corrigan’s Court, appeared for sentencing on possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, obstructing police, possession of Class A and possession of Class B at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that at 1am on May 25, of last year, police on patrol of Ardmore Drive in Armagh observed a parked Seat Leon with its rear lights illuminated.

Officers spoke to two male occupants, one of which was the defendant, who provided the police with an incorrect name.

A search was conducted on the vehicle and during this officers located a small bag containing white powder, a bag containing a hard brown substance, a knife and a hatchet.

Lester subsequently gave police his correct details and was arrested after admitting ownership of the items, with the car belonging to the other male whom he identified as his brother.

During his first interview the defendant provided no comment, however, in a second he claimed to have only said the items were his as he was already in trouble.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson stated: “This was a routine vehicle stop. The possession of a knife is a very serious offence but the only saving grace perhaps is that this was not being brandished or used to threaten anyone.

“He has told probation that he carried it in order to protect himself, which was a very foolish thing to say.”

Mr Thompson informed the court that Lester had previously been handed an enhanced combination order but had breached this due to having found work in England.

He added: “Albeit that he lied to police at the scene and then denied the offence in interview, he has accepted that the items were his and he is aware that he has put himself in the crosshairs of immediate custody.”

District Judge Paul Copeland stated: “All that has been said and what has been outlined in the presentence report, allows me to step back from imposing immediate custody.

“You were given a chance with an enhanced combination order in the past. I am unsure as to why you defied it but you ended up with a suspended sentence which is still live.”

He added: “These are serious charges, little can be said in mitigation. The drugs are of a serious nature also.”

Lester was sentenced to a combination order consisting of 100 hours community service and two years probation.

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