Wednesday 20 September 2017

Teen took €48k worth of cocaine and cannabis from dealer's lock-up

The Children's Court, Smithfield
The Children's Court, Smithfield

Tom Tuite

A DUBLIN youth helped himself to almost €50,000 worth of cannabis and cocaine after word "spread like wildfire" about a lock-up full of drugs and guns, a court has heard.

However, the find led to the 17-year-old boy getting threats and facing trial on serious drugs charges. He was aged 15 at the time and cannot be named because he is a minor.

In an outline of the allegations, Garda Stephen Tierney told the Dublin Children's Court that in 2015, gardai learned that a large quantity drugs and firearms had been kept in a lock-up in the city's north-side.

A number of youths including the defendant found out about it, the court heard.

Judge John O'Connor was told gardai later became aware that youths had been approached and threatened by the owner of the contents of the lock-up.

Gardai became concerned for their safety and when they called to the boy's home they searched his bedroom resulting in cannabis and cocaine being found in two school-bags.

The garda said that the DPP has directed that the case should remain in the Children's Court and not go forward to the circuit court which has tougher sentencing powers. However the judge has yet to decide if he will accept jurisdiction. It is alleged the value of the drugs found in the boy's bedroom, which was mostly cocaine, was €48,155.

The drugs were not broken up into deal bags to be sold on, the court was told. Garda Tierney agreed with defence counsel Beatrice Vance that the visit to the boy's home was a result of concerns for his safety. The court heard the youth has no prior criminal convictions.

Counsel said a number of youths had been playing football in the area and the lock-up became talked about and it "spread like wildfire" in school. Gardai learned that some youths went to the lock up and "took bits and pieces".

Garda Tierney agreed with Ms Vance that it was opportunistic.

The court heard that the teenager is now living in a different area and is taking part in a training course. He had been in school at the time and is aware of the seriousness of the charges, counsel said.

The boy, who was accompanied to court by his mother, has not yet indicated how he will plead and Judge O'Connor deferred ruling on the trial venue issue.

He was remanded on continuing bail to appear again later this month. When originally charged, he told gardai "I was not selling anything". He is charged with unlawful possession of the drugs, possessing it with intent to sell or supply and having drugs worth in excess of €13,000 which can carry lengthy sentences.

The Children's Court can accept jurisdiction for serious offences by taking into consideration the age and level of maturity as well as other relevant information of a defendant.

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