Two people previously charged with involvement in ‘an ongoing feud’ in the Limewood area of Banbridge have had the prosecutions against them dropped.
And a third person had a number of charges withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court, sitting in Newry.
Martin McDonagh, Oak Grove, Banbridge, faced allegations that on June 20 this year of possession of an offensive weapon, a pick axe handle, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, disorderly behaviour and possession of an offensive weapon, a machete.
Last week’s court was told that the first three charges would be withdrawn and the fourth charge amended to a machete and a bar.
A barrister representing McDonagh said his client would plead guilty to this offence.
A public prosecutor said that on June 20 police received numerous 999 calls from members of the public about males fighting in the street with a number of weapons.
Police went to Limewood and a number of people were arrested.
The defendant was identified on CCTV at the scene with a bar in his left hand and a machete in his right hand.
When interviewed he made no comment throughout and the only acknowledgment he made was that he had received his breakfast.
McDonagh’s barrister said that his client was prepared to waive his right to a pre-sentence report and there had been no repetition of any matters since this incident.
He explained there had been difficulties with extended members of the family and McDonagh had removed this machete from an individual.
He said his client had arrived on the scene of the incident and had broken up a fight.
The barrister added that his client accepted he was in possession of the weapon but he did not threaten to use it in at all.
He said his client had acted as a peacemaker in this matter.
Deputy District Judge Laura Ievers said there was a ‘nasty background’ to this incident and the custody threshold was crossed.
She pointed out that the defendant had no previous convictions.She said she believed he was endeavouring to stem the violence and the threats of violence.
But, the judge added, she could not lose sight of the fact he had a machete in his hand.
She sentenced him to three months in prison, suspended for 12 months.
The two defendants who had the charges dropped against them were Ellen Fiona McDonagh (24) and John Stokes (23), both of Oak Grove, Banbridge.
McDonagh was facing a charge of common assault on a female and Stokes had been charged with criminal damage to a vehicle, disorderly behaviour, stealing ignition keys, possession of an offensive weapon, a slash hook, and common assault on a female.
A barrister representing the defendants said this was ‘set against a background of an ongoing feud’.