Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A MAN found with a knife on a footpath by gardaí said he had had been using it in a performance of a Shakespearean soliloquy. At the local district court last week, Brian Foley, John Court, John Street, Carlow pleaded guilty to possession of a knife at John Street, Carlow on 21 May last.

Sergeant Hud Kelly said the 59-year-old defendant was found by gardaí standing on a footpath brandishing a knife on John Street at ten minutes past midnight. The court was told the blade was four inches long and the knife was five/six inches in total. Sgt Kelly said the defendant had no lawful reason for carrying the knife and told gardaí he was carrying it “to scare people who were calling him names”.

Representing himself in court, Mr Foley told the judge he was an actor and at the time was performing a soliloquy with the knife from ***Macbeth***.

“Do you want to hear the soliloquy?” he asked Judge Geraldine Carthy.

“Not really, no,” replied the judge.

Mr Foley then launched into the famous soliloquy, where Macbeth hallucinates and sees a dagger in front of him, which ushers him in the direction of King Duncan’s chamber.

“Is this a dagger which I see before me? The handle toward my hand? …”

After completing the soliloquy, Mr Foley said the knife had been a prop and he had no intention of using it. Mr Foley also said he had been in a “basement” performing, contrary to the state’s evidence.

Judge Carthy said brandishing a knife in public was a very serious matter. Mr Foley said his only regret was that he did not have his shotgun.

“What would you do with that?” asked the judge.

“Nothing, I do not have a shotgun. It was just a joke,” he said.

An unimpressed judge said she came across a lot of unfortunate people who had been impacted by knife crime and who had lost loved ones because of it.

“I do not think it’s a joke,” she said. “I can only imagine coming across a person at night holding a knife while quoting ***Macbeth***. I would find it quite intimidating and would have been put in fear.”

Mr Foley said it was a misunderstanding. He added that if the judge was dealing with the “scumbags” in the area, they would also not be having the conversation.

“Right,” said Judge Carthy, who then imposed a €500 fine.

Mr Foley said he would give Paul McCartney a ring before leaving the court.


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