CONVICTED killer Brian Rattigan has been sentenced to a further 17 year in jail for running a drugs supply network by mobile phone from his cell in Portlaoise prison.
Rattigan 32, from Cooley Road, Walkinstown in Dublin, had the sentence backdated to 2008 when he was caught with a mobile phone and notebooks in his prison cell which were linked to an ongoing drug supply business. He is already serving a life sentence for murder.
Judge Paul Butler said an aggravating factor in the case had been the fact that Rattigan had carried out the crime while in prison, something he described as "a very serious matter".
In mitigation the judge accepted that while the defendant had pleaded not guilty he had fought the case on legal matters.
"The honesty of the witnesses was not in any serious matter impaired during the course of the trial," he added. He also accepted that Rattigan's actions had had a huge effect on himself, his friends and family and had led to a fatality, adding that this was being taken into consideration.
It earlier emerged that Rattigan has taken up acting in prison, producing and appearing in two pantomimes.
During summing of in the case, Rattigan's defense barrister Brendan Grehan told the court that the convicted criminal had turned his life around while in prison taking up acting, catering courses and a number of courses on alternatives to violence to name but a few.
The Dubliner had produced and appeared in two Christmas pantomimes - The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella.
Mr Gehan told the court that the convicted killer and drug dealer had made the changes to his life because of his 10-year-old daughter Abbie.
Describing her as the "single most important factor in his life", Mr Grehan added that he now spends much of him time in the prison gym and had also undertaken a course in yoga and physio courses linked to his gym regime.
Mr Grehan presented a number of certificates to the court highlight how Rattigan had completed a Fetac level four certificate in catering. He had also received A grades in a number of course in addiction studies.
Rattigan had pleaded not guilty to the possession of heroin and two counts of possession of the drug for sale or supply on Hughes Road South, Walkinstown, Dublin 12 on May 21st, 2008.
Judge Butler said that while it could be interpreted that the convicted killer was trying to change his life it remained only a possibility. On that basis the court did not opt to suspend any of the 17 year term.
Mr Rattigan showed no emotion as the verdict was read out. Afterwards he thanked his legal team and spoke briefly with family members before being led away.
The court heard that gardai who raided the house on Hughes Road South discovered five kilos of heroin valued at just under €1m and a red and white Nokia phone in a shed at the back of the property, while a search of a bedroom inside the house yielded just over €36,000 in cash.
The court heard from Det Sgt Brian Roberts from the Garda National Drugs unit who spelt out in detail the devastating impact that heroin has in society. He explained that in the year the drugs were discovered there were 641 drug related deaths.
Judge Butler thanked Det Sgt Roberts for his evidence saying it was the first time such detailed evidence on the impact of drugs had come before his court.
"We are very grateful for this and it shall be useful even outside this case," he added.