Updated: 10/11/16 : 07:07:30
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IT Sligo student told garda knuckleduster was kite handle

An IT Sligo mature student who was found with a knuckleduster in his car told gardaí it was a handle for a kite when quizzed about it.

Stephen Ruane (28) of 19 Cloonmonad Close, Westport, appeared before the local district court, sitting in Castlebar, last week, where he was charged with the possession of the knuckleduster under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act.

He pleaded guilty before the court.

Defending solicitor Cathy McDarby told the court her client is currently on remand in prison over charges in Sligo. Ruane is currently enrolled in a course in IT Sligo in business, recreation and leisure but has had to defer his studies, as he is in custody.

The Mayo News reported that Garda David Timlin told the court that at 4.50am on August 7 last, he was in a garda patrol car behind a Volkswagen Golf going from Westport Quay to Westport town. After observing the car cross over the white line on occasion, he pulled it over, searched the car and found the knuckleduster between the two front seats.

Garda Timlin said Ruane denied it was a knuckleduster, claiming it was a handle for a kite. Garda Timlin said a search of the car revealed no other kite equipment.

The knuckleduster was handed into court and Judge Deirdre Gearty observed ‘it must have been a very heavy kite’.

The court heard Ruane had 12 previous convictions and received a seven year prison sentence in January, 2012 for assault causing serious harm. The final two years were suspended. The court heard Ruane was released two-and-a-half years into the five-year prison term.

He was bound to be of good behaviour for four years post release.

Ms McDarby said her client had the knuckleduster as there was a ‘disagreement going on’ locally and his friend had been attacked the previous week when accompanied by his pregnant girlfriend.
She said Ruane said he had the knuckleduster in the car ‘for preventative reasons’.

Judge Gearty said ‘not in my wildest imagination could I believe this (the knuckleduster) would be a kite handle’. She convicted Ruane, fined him €250 and made an order to confiscate the knuckleduster.