Saturday 23 September 2017

Taxi driver caught with €300k worth of drugs jailed

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Conor Gallagher

A taxi driver and father-of-two who was caught with nearly €300,000 worth of illegal drugs has been jailed for four-and-a-half years.

Stephen Murphy (45) was previously supported in court by Gail O'Rorke, who was acquitted in 2015 of attempting to assist in the suicide of her friend.

Ms O'Rorke, who recently released a book about her experiences, wrote a letter in support of Murphy, who faced a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence for drug dealing.

In the letter, Ms O'Rorke and her husband Barry told Judge Melanie Greally that Murphy has “lost so much of his life” as a result of the offence. They couple said they were lifelong friends with the accused and pointed out that his son suffers from Crohn's disease.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Murphy was caught with ketamine, ecstasy tablets and cannabis in the boot of his taxi after a surveillance operation by the Garda Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.

Murphy, of Dromcarra Avenue, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of drugs for sale or supply on North Road, Finglas on May 13, 2015.

Sentencing Murphy today, Judge Greally said there were several mitigating factors which would allow her to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence. These included Murphy's previous good character, his guilty plea and remorse, his limited role in the offence and his “respectable” background, she said.

Detective Garda Alan O'Connor told Anne Rowland BL, prosecuting, that gardaí received a tip-off that drugs were being moved in the Finglas area. Gardaí launched a surveillance operation which observed Murphy driving his taxi to the Kestrel Inn Pub and picking up another man.

Murphy then drove to an underground car park. A garda in the car park lost sight of them briefly before seeing Murphy close the boot of his car and drive off. He was stopped and searched shortly afterwards.

Gardaí found ecstasy tablets and powder along with €103,200 worth of ketamine and €154,548 worth of cannabis. The total value of the drugs was €273,859.

Murphy told gardaí he picked up the drugs after receiving a call from a man who asked him if he was interested in picking up some “car parts.”

Defence counsel Roisin Lacey SC said the worst moment of Murphy's life was when a passenger got in his taxi some months previously and started taking cocaine. Instead of throwing the man out Murphy began talking to him and took some cocaine when offered, she said.

He continued taking the drug and became addicted. He ran up a €1,600 drug debt and he committed this offence to pay that off, counsel said.

Ms Lacey said Murphy had lived a blameless life until now and had an excellent work history.

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