A MAN captured on closed circuit television cameras waving a samurai sword about in the foyer of a flats complex has been jailed.
Paul Oliver told Teesside Crown Court that the incident was simply drunken high jinx with a friend in the early hours after his birthday.
The 20-year-old can be seen on the footage moving the weapon towards a bare-chested man in Walton Terrace, Stockton, at 3.20am on February 22.
Oliver had celebrated his birthday the day before, and told Judge Tony Briggs that he had never intended to cause any harm.
Jailing him for six months, the judge told him: "It is right to say that no one was injured as a result of this and it was short-lived.
"On the face of it, it did not look like a play-acting matter. Things can escalate and get out of hand. He didn't seem to get the joke."
Oliver, of Bedford Street, Stockton, admitted a charge of possessing an offensive weapon when he appeared before magistrates last month.
At the hearing on Tuesday, he initially wanted to change his plea, then he dispensed with the services of his barrister, and decided to represent himself.
He was handcuffed in the dock, and had a number of nasty facial injuries which he said had been caused while he was on remand in jail.
He told judge Briggs he had failed to turn up at earlier court hearings because he was suffering emotional problems after his sister's death.
Apologising for the sword incident, he said: "That was on my birthday. It was a drunken thing, really. One of them was a childhood mate."
Two other people caught on camera move in to separate Oliver and the bare-chested man, but they can be seen cuddling at the end of the clip.
Prosecutor Emma Atkinson said police recovered two swords from Oliver's home - one large and one small - after initially detaining the wrong person.
She told the court how he has 46 offences on his record - "some length, given his age" - including one for violence when he was just 13.
In 2011, he was jailed for three years for wounding with intent, and has also been prosecuted for possessing a loaded air weapon.
Judge Briggs told him: "The carrying of weapons of this nature when drunk is a matter that has to be actively discouraged.
"The mere fact a drunk person is in charge of such an item does not cause people to be calm . . . you were doing this in an aggressive way."