Cookstown man given suspended sentence for possessing knife

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A Cookstown man has been given a jail sentence of four months, suspended for two years, after he was found to be in possession of a knife in a carrier bag.

Colm Campbell, 29, from Greenvale Drive, appeared at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on Friday.

The court heard how shortly after 5pm on May 4, the defendant reported an assault to police at James Street, Cookstown.

However, when police attended the scene, they were unable to find any evidence of the attack. Instead they found Campbell in an intoxicated state smoking what smelled like cannabis.

Suspecting that he was in possession of drugs, police searched the defendant and found a large blade in a carrier bag.

At the time, Campbell said he was bringing the knife to his sister’s house, a claim that police later found to be untrue.

The defence solicitor told the court that Campbell had had a difficult start to life, which had led to an entrenched pattern of behaviour.

“He lacks structure, and struggles with significant addictions”, he added.

However, Campbell was now successfully engaging with the community mental health team, as well as community addiction services, and was making progress.

The solicitor said that Campbell claimed to be currently abstinent, and that he could vouch for the fact that at recent meetings, his client’s condition had improved.

However, Judge John Meehan pointed out that the defendant had been convicted in the past of possessing a dangerous weapon, and work with the probation service had proved unsuccessful in changing his behaviour. The judge told Campbell that he was a person of ‘limited responsibility’.

“I am not impressed by this fabrication of a story for having the knife in your possession. It speaks of an element of pre-meditation.”

However, the judge said that because Campbell had recently served a prison sentence, he would give him a chance to avail of support. Campbell was also fined £100.