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Thursday 28 August 2014

Convicted criminal will avoid jail for importing cocaine if he leaves country for job in Hungary

Published 17/10/2013 | 19:28

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A man who served time for attempted murder will escape a jail term here for importing cocaine if he leaves Ireland and takes up a job offer in his native Hungary.

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Jozsef Keresnyei (29) was caught at Dublin Airport carrying 99 pellets of cocaine internally. He later told gardai he’d been given €300 to bring the drugs to Ireland by a man he’d met in prison while serving a sentence for attempted murder of his violent, alcoholic father.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to importing 1kg of cocaine worth €69,466 and possessing it for sale or supply at Terminal 1, Dublin Airport on March 2, 2013. He has five previous convictions in other jurisdictions, including attempted murder.

Keresnyei, who is of no fixed abode, told gardai he had stabbed his father because his father pulled a knife on him, but rang an ambulance immediately after and explained down the phone what had happened. His father later died in hospital and Keresnyei received a five and a half year sentence in 2008.

Garda Kevin Nolan told Una Tighe BL, prosecuting, that Keresnyei had initially denied possessing drugs, but then made full admissions after passing the pellets over 16 hours in hospital.

He agreed with Peter Maguire BL, defending, that Keresnyei was fully co-operative during interview and would have been a minor player in this drugs enterprise.

Keresnyei, giving evidence, told his counsel that his father was an alcoholic who had been physically abusive to him and his mother growing up.

He described how his father would get violent after a few drinks and physically assault him at least once a week from when he was two years old. He said he had no formal education and was primarily reared by his grandmother and grandfather, whom his father would also beat.

The father had held a knife to his son’s throat and stomach on the last attack, before Keresnyei picked up another knife and stabbed him.

He said his other convictions included stealing a couple of cigarette packets from a store and using someone else’s bank card because he was hungry.

He explained that the man he’d met in prison bought him a flight to Madrid and a number of weeks later gave him the cocaine pellets to bring to Dublin.

He apologised in court for his actions, but said he was studying art and computers in prison. He said “no job, no money, no future picture” had been factors in committing the crime.

Mr Maguire submitted to Judge Carmel Stewart that his client had suffered “serious abuse and oppression during his early years” and had no education apart from four years in America when he’d lived there with his mother as a child.

He submitted that Keresnyei was and is vulnerable to being exploited by people in the drugs trade.

Judge Stewart noted that despite Keresnyei’s violent upbringing, he had managed to stay law abiding until he was almost 21 years old and picked up a minor theft conviction.

She said she would give him a three years suspended sentence on condition he leaves the jurisdiction and returns to Hungary to take up the full time work on offer.

She remanded him in custody to appear in court next week to finalise the sentence and to give gardai time to make travel arrangements.

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