Sunday 25 February 2018

Homeless man who agreed to transport €200k worth of heroin says it was an 'act of desperation'

Stock picture/PA
Stock picture/PA

Sonya McLean

A homeless man who agreed to transport over €200,000 worth of heroin to raise a deposit for a new flat has been jailed for four and half years.

Pierce Hilliard (32) previously of Ballyogan Green, Carrickmines, Co Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of 1.48 Kg of heroin at Sandyford Road, Dublin on May 24, 2016. His 84 previous convictions are mainly for road traffic offences.

Hilliard told gardaí on his arrest that it was an “act of desperation”. He said his daughter was in care and he was trying to raise a deposit for a home so he would be in a better position to look for custody for her.

Detective Garda Paul Kane agreed with Sean Guerin SC, defending, that despite Hilliard's large amount of previous convictions, he had never had a drug conviction and had no associations with the drug trade.

Mr Guerin said his client had difficulties in his personal life which made him “vulnerable to abuse by others”. He added that Hilliard had “ultimately failed to resist the temptation of an opportunity that had been presented to him”.

Det Gda Kane told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardaí had set up a surveillance operation in relation to the suspected movement of drugs in Dundrum.

At around 4pm on May 24, they saw Hilliard get out of a taxi at a car park in the Sandyford area, go to another car and place a shopping bag in the boot. He tried to drive out of the carpark but was stopped by gardaí. The drugs were found in the shopping bag.

Hilliard told gardaí in interview that he had met someone earlier to pick up the drugs. The taxi had brought him there, waited for him and then brought him back to the car park in Sandyford.

He said he was in “a very bad way” and had just registered as homeless. He said his daughter was in care and described it as an act of desperation.

Hilliard said he knew what he was doing was illegal and admitted that he would have had to transport drugs a few times to raise enough money for a deposit.

Mr Guerin handed in a number of testimonials into court and said his client was doing well in prison.

He accepted it was a serious offence but submitted that Hilliard had met the case “in an exemplary way” and was unlikely to have any involvement in the drug trade again.

Judge Martin Nolan said Hilliard took full responsibility for the drugs and gardaí accepted his explanation that he had agreed to transport the drugs for monetary gain.

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