Sunday 17 November 2019

Ex-bandmate of Westlife stars is spared jail

Lost career: Former garda Michael Garrett (back right) when he was in boyband IOU. Photo: James Connolly/GreenGraph.
Lost career: Former garda Michael Garrett (back right) when he was in boyband IOU. Photo: James Connolly/GreenGraph.

Tom Tuite

An ex-bandmate of boy band stars Westlife who is a former garda has been spared jail after he was caught in possession of cocaine.

Michael Garrett (40), of Orchard Lane, Strandhill Road, Sligo, had pleaded guilty last July before Dublin District Court to unlawful possession of cocaine at Tritonville Avenue, Sandymount, Dublin, on August 26, 2018.

Garrett was suspended from duty following his drugs arrest and was later dismissed by the Garda Commissioner.

The court was told his cocaine use stemmed from a mental breakdown after alleged incidents of workplace bullying.

Garrett was a member of the boy band IOU when Louis Walsh signed a number of its members in 2000. They included Shane Filan, Kian Egan and Mark Feehily, who went on to enjoy international success after they became Westlife.

In evidence, Garda Inspector Michael McNulty told the court Garrett was stopped under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During a search, two bags of white powder were recovered. They contained 1.6g of cocaine worth around €140.

Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, defending, yesterday pleaded with the court to spare Garrett a jail sentence and a conviction despite the aggravating factor that his client was a serving garda at the time of the offence.

Judge John O'Leary said the offence was a grave breach of trust for An Garda Síochána and Garrett was aware the cocaine industry was not a victimless crime.

Sparing him a jail sentence, he said Garrett had been a "stellar garda" but had lost his career. He fined him €500.

Irish Independent

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