Woman who repeatedly turned up at garda station with knife avoids jailPadraig Conlon 29 Jul 2022
By Eimear Dodd
A young woman who repeatedly showed up at a garda station with a knife in her possession has received a fully suspended prison sentence.
Alina Buckley (19) was experiencing severe mental health difficulties at the time and was abusive towards gardaí during these incidents.
Buckley, of Trimleston Gardens, Booterstown, pleaded guilty to possession of a knife at three locations in the vicinity of Blackrock Garda Station on January 20, 2020, February 1, 2020 and May 15, 2020
She also pleaded guilty to a count of threatening behaviour at Sweetman’s Avenue, Blackrock on April 10, 2020. Buckley has eight previous convictions, including two for assault.
At Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Orla Crowe imposed a one year prison term which she suspended on conditions including that the defendant engage with mental health services for that period.
She noted that Buckley had been experiencing significant difficulties at the time, but had also caused issues for gardai.
Garda Ciara Morris gave evidence that she noticed Buckley standing outside Blackrock Garda Station at 10.30pm on January 20, 2020.
Gda Morris and a colleague went outside to carry out a welfare check, but Buckley did not initially interact with them. She became abusive when gardai asked her to leave the area and told gardai she was carrying a knife.
The defendant had a steak knife in one sleeve of her jumper. It was dropped and kicked away by gardai, who arrested Buckley who was kicking her legs and shouting abuse.
Gda Morris agreed with defence counsel that Buckley was 17 at the time of this incident and had been dealing with mental health issues. Buckley was adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage at 16 months old.
Victim impact statements were handed into the court from Gda Morris and her colleague, Gda Janine Jordan. Both said the incident increased their awareness of the need for caution and expressed their relief that no one had been seriously injured.
Garda Sinead Whelan gave evidence that Buckley was spotted outside Blackrock Garda Station on February 1, 2020.
She initially refused to speak with gardai, then told them she was armed. Buckley did not cooperate with gardai when they arrested her. A razor blade was found in her pocket.
Buckley was spotted by gardaí on Sweetman’s Avenue on April 10, 2020 at 10.45pm. She told gardai she had a sharp stone and was going to use it. Buckley became abusive when asked how she planned to use the stone. She lashed out and had to be restrained.
The defendant was later seen by gardai running on Main Street away from Blackrock Garda Station on May 15, 2020 at 10.30pm. She threw away an object, which was found to be a steak knife.
Gda Whelan agreed with defence counsel that gardai were concerned for Buckley’s welfare and called a doctor. She confirmed Buckley had spent time in custody and no new charges had been brought since her release in November 2021.
Defence counsel said Buckley’s offending behaviour occurred during an 18-month period when she was facing severe mental health difficulties.
She had spent nine months in custody and this had acted as a catalyst for her to engage with appropriate services to address her mental health.
After a period of homelessness, Buckley is now living with her parents, who were present in court.