Knife and baton were ‘for peace of mind’

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A man who had a knife with a five-inch blade and an extendable baton at the time of a ‘feud’ in Larne has been given a suspended sentence.

Alan Cowan (41), a forklift driver, of Sallagh Park Central, had the baton and a ‘butterfly knife’ recovered by police in his car which was parked down the street near his home with other individuals inside the vehicle at 12.45am on April 22.

Cowan appeared at Ballymena Magistrate’s Court on Thursday and admitted possessing the weapons.

A prosecutor said during a police interview that Cowan had said the items were his and he had bought them at a market and was unaware they were illegal but that he had them in his car for “peace of mind” and had no intention of actually using them.

The baton was in the central console and the knife on the front passenger seat.

Defence barrister Michael Ward said the discovery of the items came at a time when the PSNI were dealing with disorder in Larne and “not withstanding police suspicions they were unable to link these weapons” to any incident.

The lawyer said he was glad the situation in Larne had “calmed down”.

District Judge Peter King said he recalled that when the case first came before court police had opposed bail. The defendant had been released with conditions.

At Thursday’s court, ordering the weapons to be destroyed the judge also imposed a three-month jail term suspended for a year.