Saturday 16 December 2017

'Easy prey' drug-dealer with intellectual difficulties jailed for possession of drugs for sale

Declan Brennan

A man who suffered severe brain damage in a road traffic accident has been jailed for six years after he admitted having nearly €45,000 worth of illegal drugs for sale or supply.

Jonathan Campbell (22) was described in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court as "easy prey" for drug dealers looking to exploit his vulnerability.

Campbell of Donomore Crescent, Tallaght pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of cannabis, ecstasy and €26,000 worth of PBP, a cocaine like drug, at Alderwood Green, Tallaght on March 10, 2012.

He also admitted carrying out a burglary and stealing a car on June 1, 2012, while he was on bail for the drug dealing offence. He further pleaded guilty to carrying out two other burglaries and to assaulting a garda at Tallaght on March 8, 2013.

Judge Martin Nolan suspended the last 18 months of a six and a half year jail sentence for the drug dealing. He imposed a consecutive sentence of three years for the final burglary but suspended the final two years.

Detective Garda Michael McGrath told Paul Carroll BL, prosecuting, that during a search of Campbell's brother in law's house on Alderwood Green, Tallaght, gardai found drugs with a total estimated street value of €44,900.

While the search was being carried out Campbell arrived at the house and "blurted out" that all the drugs belonged to him.  He later told gardai he had a drug debt of €1,000 and was told to use a weighing scales to mix the cocaine and PBP. 

The detective told the court that he considered Campbell to be at "the lowest rung of the ladder" in the drugs trade.

The court heard that Campbell had intellectual difficulties and that these were exacerbated by severe brain injuries that resulted from a serious road traffic accident in 2007.

Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, said that her client was vulnerable and easy prey for drug dealers. She said he carried out the burglary to raise funds to pay back the debt of €100 a day.

Garda Brian O'Connor agreed with counsel that Campbell, whose late mother was a chronic alcoholic, was a "true gentleman" when sober.

Judge Nolan said Campbell was a nuisance to society.

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