News Courts

Thursday 2 October 2014

Father caught holding €12,000 of cannabis at his home to repay drug debt has had his sentencing adjourned

Published 16/07/2014 | 16:24

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Jason Lawless (38) is now clean of illicit substances following 17 years of drug use, and is taking part in education, counselling and drug therapy.

A Dublin father caught holding €12,000 of cannabis at his home to repay a drug debt has had his sentencing adjourned to see if he continues to turn his life around.

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Jason Lawless (38) is now clean of illicit substances following 17 years of drug use, and is taking part in education, counselling and drug therapy. The court heard he is an example to others at the services he attends.

Lawless, of Ballyshannon Road, Kilmore West pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at his home on February 23, 2013. He has no previous convictions.

Judge Catherine Murphy told Lawless he should be very proud of himself. “I have rarely seen such excellent progress over an 18 month period” she said. She adjourned sentencing until December and ordered continuing urine analysis.

She said she was impressed with his honesty in admitting using cannabis once recently. She said it was “almost unrealistic” that after 17 years there would not be a slip but warned there should be no more.

“Cannabis is no escape, no retreat and solves no problems ever,” she told Lawless.

Garda Selina Proudfoot told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that gardai searched Lawless’s home last year and found cannabis herb valued at €12,694 in the kitchen and a bag of cocaine valued at €61 in his pocket.

Paraphernalia such as weighing scales, bagging and a tick list were also found.

Lawless immediately admitted ownership of the items and later told gardai he was holding the drugs to reduce a debt of €4,000. He received phone calls and gave out cannabis to people but did not take cash.

He would not name the people who gave him the drugs telling gardai he would be in fear for his life.

Gda Proudfoot agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that Lawless was co-operative with the search. She agreed he was visibly upset during interview, said he was sorry and that he needed help with his drug use.

Mr Le Vert said Lawless had been in full time employment until he lost his job in 2009 during the economic downturn. He said repeated attempts to find a job were unsuccessful and what had been recreational drug use turned into addiction. He ran up a debt due to his heavy use of cannabis and cocaine.

“It’s a story heard and told many times in this court. The person he owes money to turns him into an employee and it’s always the employee who ends up before the courts,” said Mr Le Vert.

He said that since the offence Lawless had “not only taken small steps on the road to rehabilitation but rather long strides.” He said arrangements were made to have the debt repaid so he no longer had contact with those who gave him the drugs.

He submitted that Lawless was now drug free apart from one slip a few weeks ago and was attending his GP for urine analysis.

Lawless has linked in with a number of services and recently took part in conference attended by academics, law enforcement and TDs which brainstormed solutions in relation to drug use and policing.

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