Courts

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Fianna Fáil justice spokesperson Niall Collins asked judge not to jail drug dealer

Barry Duggan and Niall O’Connor

Published 18/06/2014|21:23

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Fianna Fail TD Niall Collins

Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins urged a judge not to impose a jail sentence on a criminal who was caught with drugs during a garda surveillance operation.

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A letter was handed to a judge dealing with the case of Hugo Porter, who has a previous conviction for assault.

A Circuit Criminal Court judge jailed another man who was arrested in the same operation for three years - but delayed sentencing in the case of Porter after being given the TD’s letter.

Limerick Circuit Criminal Court this week heard that Hugo Porter (40) of St Patrick’s Villas, Castleconnell, Limerick who is a widowed father of four children, and Alan Lysaght (39) from Scanlon Park in Castleconnell, admitted having €17,500 worth of cannabis in a field in Limerick for sale or supply on June 24, 2011.

They were arrested after gardai swooped and found Porter emerging from the field with a quantity of pre-bagged cannabis in bags ready for sale.

Lysaght was jailed for three years with the final year suspended, but Porter’s sentencing was adjourned.

Porter’s solicitor, Michael Collins, handed a letter to Judge Carroll Moran.

The letter from Mr Collins was written last month and urged that Porter did not receive a prison sentence for the sake of his children.

Mr Collins, a Limerick TD and nephew of former Justice Minister Gerry Collins, was not contactable today and did not return calls on the matter.

Porter has previously served a two year suspended prison sentence handed down to him in Ennis Circuit Criminal Court for assault where he produced a broken glass.

Porter, unemployed for the last two years, has previous convictions for road traffic offences including dangerous driving and failure to stop when directed to do so by a garda.

Peace commissioner Frank Ryan from Castleconnell, Co Limerick told Judge Moran that “Hugo has been a terrific father to his four children since their mother died”.

Mr Ryan said that he does not “condone drugs, but I am asking you for leniency because jailing Hugo would be an awful loss for those children.”

Judge Moran said that he was being asked to consider the impact of jailing the father of four vulnerable children.

The matter was adjourned until October 10 next when a report from the appropriate Child and Welfare family agency would be produced.

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