Mum cleared of fatal drugs party charges
Published 17/03/2010 | 05:00
A WOMAN whose son died following a party in her house where it was claimed "cocaine was freely available" was yesterday cleared of allowing the drug to be handed out.
Betty Grey (48) was found not guilty of permitting the sale, supply or distribution of cocaine in her house after a judge ruled it would be "unsafe" to convict her on the evidence before the court.
Mrs Grey's son John (23) and student Kevin Doyle (21) died in hospital after they collapsed and fell into a coma at the party in the early hours of November 25, 2007.
The trial had heard party-goers had been "shoving cocaine down their throats" and that people started having "fits" and began "dropping to the ground" before ambulances were called sometime after 4.30am.
Mrs Grey, of Ballybeg Square, Waterford, told gardai she never saw "any substance" in her house on the night in question.
Five people, including Mr Doyle and Mr Grey, were rushed to Waterford Regional Hospital and a further 11 were admitted to A&E for medical examination following the party.
The trial at Carlow Circuit Court ended yesterday after Judge Thomas Teehan directed a jury to find Mrs Grey not guilty of the offence.
Judge Teehan gave his direction following an application by defence counsel for the case to be withdrawn from the jury on the basis that that "no safe conviction could occur here".
The judge told the jury he had to pay regard to the evidence of two prosecution witnesses, who said they were "of the view that if Mrs Grey had known drugs were being distributed in her house she would have strongly objected".
Judge Teehan also made reference to the evidence of prosecution witness Orla O'Connor who told the court she had "lied" to gardai in a statement about cocaine being available in a bag on the kitchen table.
Ms O'Connor later said drugs had been taken "secretively" in the bedroom.
The trial had heard Mrs Grey became abusive to gardai when they called to her house after 5.30am on request of ambulance crews attending the scene.
Mrs Grey gave an undertaking to the court to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for a period of five years after the judge raised this issue with her counsel.