Saturday 21 July 2018

Drug dealer avoids jail after Judge notes he had made 'trojan' effort to turn his life around

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

Isabel Hayes

A drug dealer who was caught with cocaine and heroin has avoided jail after a Judge said he had made a “trojan” effort to turn his life around.

Craig Cassells (23), was charged after gardaí found €2,200 worth of crack cocaine, cannabis and heroin at his home on Rafters Lane, Drimnagh, Dublin on September 23, 2014.

A few months later, on January 23, 2015, he was caught with €550 worth of cocaine after gardaí noticed him acting suspiciously on the street.

He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to one count of possession of drugs and three counts of possessing drugs for sale or supply.

The court heard today that Cassells, a drug addict, was well-known to gardaí from a young age. He had a difficult childhood and left school at the age of 13.

He has 57 previous convictions, including for drug-related offenses, robbery and dangerous driving.

After hearing evidence that Cassells had changed his life around in the last year, Judge Patricia Ryan suspended sentences of three and a half years.

She said: “Mr Cassells' efforts to rehabilitate himself in the last year have been trojan”.

David Staunton BL, defending, said his client had since moved away from his old home and former associates, and was volunteering with a homeless charity.

A number of glowing testimonials from employers were handed up to the court. Two gardaí who have known Cassells for a number of years told the court he had changed his life in the last year.

Mr Staunton said: “From the age of 17 up until last year he was a person who came in contact with gardaí on a regular basis due to the fact he had a serious drug addiction.”

“He has done a complete about turn. He has set himself on a course to become a much better person.”

The court heard Cassells tested negatively for drugs and was expecting his first child later this year.

Sentencing Cassells, Judge Ryan said the court would take into account his early admissions of guilt, his co-operation with gardaí and his good employment record.

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