Friday 28 October 2016

Father with health problems avoids jail for breaking up cocaine

Sonya McLean

Published 28/10/2015 | 16:48

Damien Wilson leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court
Pic: Court Collins.
Damien Wilson leaving Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Pic: Court Collins.

A father of one with a myriad of chronic health difficulties has avoided a jail term for holding and breaking up cocaine for distribution.

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Damien Wilson (47) was arrested after a garda raid on his home following a surveillance operation.

Wilson with address at Harelawn Green, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drug for sale or supply at Chaplin's Place on October 10, 2014. His four previous convictions date back to 1989 and are for road traffic and public order offences.

Gardaí had spotted people collecting packages from outside Wilson's then home in Chaplin's Place, Clondalkin.

The cocaine, valued at €58,086 was found in a backpack under the stairs, along with other drug paraphernalia and a list of clients.

Wilson made full admissions telling gardaí in a subsequent interview that he received the drugs by courier the previous week.

He said he would get instructions over the phone to weigh and bag up the drugs before leaving them outside his front door for collection. He was to be paid €100 per week for his role.

Wilson refused to name the other people involved because he said he was in fear for his safety and that of his partner and young child.

Judge Martin Nolan said it was primarily due to Wilson's “myriad of medical conditions” which include chronic heart failure, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and back pain that he felt it would be unjust to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

He also accepted that Wilson was the lowest operative in this drug distribution scheme.

Judge Nolan sentenced Wilson to three years in prison which he suspended in full.

Garda John McWeeney told Sinead McMullan BL, prosecuting that shotgun cartridges were also found in Wilson's home but he explained to gardaí that these were from his friend's licensed gun which was used when they went hunting together.

He said he got involved in the offence because he needed the money, after he had been put on disability allowance following heart surgery.

Dominic McGinn SC defending said his client was confronted with an opportunity to make money which he couldn't resist because he was under financial pressure.

He asked Judge Nolan to accept that garda intelligence supported his submission that Wilson was on the lowest rung of the ladder and was “out of his depth”.

Counsel said his client had serious aliments and handed various medical reports to support that.

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