Man waved machete at passers-by in Cookstown


A machete-wielding Dungannon man threatened passers-by and lashed out at a van containing a nine-year old during a drunken debacle in Cookstown.

Appearing at East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court at Dungannon Courthouse to be sentenced was Michael Gerard Cawley, 27, from Fairmount Park.

The court heard how, on the afternoon of August 28th, police received calls from the public about a man in the centre of Cookstown who was waving a machete around.

Amongst the reports was one stating that he had gesticulated with the two-foot long blade towards a group of foreign nationals.

Another stated that Cawley had hit a passing vehicle with the machete. The driver had feared for the safety of his child, a nine-year old who was in the van.

The police discovered the defendant in the Station Square Retail Park car park on Molesworth Street. He had disposed of the machete but still had to be forcefully handcuffed. During the arrest the constables faced a tirade of obscenities, threats and kicks from the intoxicated man.

They found the machete nearby and also located a small bag of cannabis.

The court also heard how, on January 25, G4S security had attended Cawley’s address and had found his electronic tag broken and lying in the garden. The defendant was absent from his address and the police were called as he was in breach of his bail terms.

He was later discovered at an address in Omagh and admitted to having stayed overnight and to have damaged the electronic tag.

“The aggravating feature is the nature of the weapon and that it was being swung around ... drink and drugs were involved,” said Mr Blaine Nugent, defending.

“The criminal damage (to the tag) was conducted while Mr Cawley was on bail for the machete incident,” he described, adding that his client had two active suspended prison sentences.

“Only a custodial sentence will do for this egregious offence,” said District Judge John Meehan.

“We circle the same issues with alcohol ... and his failure to address those issues and his issues with anger management.”

Judge Meehan handed down an eight month prison sentence for the seven offences linked to the Cookstown incident and further imposed a one-month period in prison for the criminal damage to the electronic tag. Two suspended prison sentences were also activated to give a total period of twelve months in prison.