Sunday 23 October 2016

New dad caught with €35,000 worth of drugs avoids jail sentence

Sonya McLean

Published 09/05/2016 | 16:12

Dublin Central Criminal Court
Dublin Central Criminal Court

A new father who was put under pressure to hold €35,000 worth of drugs because of threats made against his brother has avoided a jail term.

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Jason Kearns (30) of Stanaway Road, Crumlin, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of 61 grams of cocaine worth €4,300 and 1,515 grams of cannabis herb worth €30,300, at his home on March 20, 2015. He has two previous road traffic convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally had previously adjourned the case having heard evidence and ordered a probation report.

She said the question for the court was whether the facts of the case were “exceptional enough” to allow her to impose a suspended sentence.

The judge said it was “a borderline case” but accepted that Kearns had fully co-operated with the gardaí and had minor previous convictions before she imposed a five year sentence which she suspended in full on strict conditions.

Garda Catriona Gallagher told Caroline Cummings BL, prosecuting that Kearns' home was searched following a tip off and found cocaine in the kitchen and cannabis herb in the sitting room.

Kearns told officers he had been made store the drugs because of a debt his brother had run up after drugs he had been holding were seized by gardaí.

Colm O'Briain SC, defending said his client's partner had their first baby at the end of last month.

He said his client had worked in retail management, as a life guard and in a sports shop but he was on social welfare at the time of his arrest.

Counsel said Kearns' brother was “out of the jurisdiction” at the moment because threats were made against him after a drug haul he had been holding was seized by gardaí. Kearns was then put under pressure to take on his brother's drug debt.

Mr O' Briain submitted that Kearns' role was at the “lesser end” of the drugs operation.

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