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Friday 22 August 2014

Leaving Cert party host told gardai 'get a warrant'... they did and now he's in court on drugs charge

ANDREW PHELAN

Published 25/03/2014 | 07:30

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Chris Bent, Kenilworth Square, Rathgar (Permitting his home to be used for Drugs Offences) pictured as he left The Dublin District Courts at The CCJ
Chris Bent, Kenilworth Square, Rathgar (Permitting his home to be used for Drugs Offences) pictured as he left The Dublin District Courts at The CCJ

Gardai searched 68 people and made four arrests in a drugs bust at an out of control house party in south Dublin that has been described as "every parent's nightmare".

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The owners' son, Chris Bent, refused to stop the post-Leaving Certificate bash despite complaints and ordered gardai off his property unless they had a warrant. The officers returned 90 minutes later with one and raided the house.

The 20-year-old was prosecuted for permitting his family home to be used for drug offences.

Dublin District Court heard his parents had been away on holiday and told him he could "have a few friends over" but word got around that he had a free house and things got "totally out of hand".

His father Eugene Bent -- the communications and retention director at Dublin Chamber of Commerce -- attended the hearing last week.

When asked if he wished to comment on his son's case, Mr Bent told the Herald: "I don't want to say anything about it."

His son, who is now a film student, pleaded guilty to three counts of permitting the possession and smoking of cannabis as the occupant of the house, and permitting the sale, supply or distribution of dimethoxybromophenethylanine.

The offences happened at Kenilworth Square, Rathgar, on July 28 last year.

Judge Michael Walsh adjourned sentencing in the case for nine months.

He noted that Chris Bent was not accused of taking or supplying any drugs himself. He said he would be lenient if he undertook some voluntary work as a token of his remorse.

Sergeant Zita Woods said gardai were called to the house at 7.30am following complaints from neighbours that the party had "got out of hand", with bottles being thrown around.

Officers saw men smoking what they suspected to be cannabis and asked to speak to the person in charge.

The accused came out and the gardai asked him to stop the party.

"He demanded that the gardai get off his property without a warrant," Sgt Woods said.

The gardai returned at 9am with a warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act and entered the house. A total of 68 people were searched, as well as a room in which cannabis had been smoked.

Several empty bags that had contained drugs were recovered and four people were found in possession of controlled substances and arrested.

Bent was detained and admitted knowing people were taking drugs in his house. However, he told gardai he thought it was only in the one room and that only cannabis was involved.

He was also not involved in selling or supplying drugs to anyone.

Bent had just finished his Leaving Certificate and his parents were away on holiday at the time, his barrister Kate McCormack said.

"Word spread that there was a free house and things got completely out of hand," Ms McCormack said.

Ms McCormack said: "The facts read like every parent's nightmare, and he is suitably ashamed of treating the family home in that way."

Bent's own behaviour had been appalling and the fact that he had been drinking was no excuse, she said.

As well as film studies, the accused was involved in music and composed his own tracks.

His barrister said a drugs conviction could have a major impact on his life and career and "every window of opportunity could be firmly shut" in terms of travel.

Judge Walsh adjourned the case to a date in December.

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