Sunday 25 August 2019

Italian chef avoids jail after being caught with over €30k of drugs

16/11/2017. Lino Simonetti (38) of Aungier Street, Dublin, pictured leaving the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this afternoon after receiving a four year suspended sentence. He previously pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at his home in September, 2016. Pic Collins Courts.
16/11/2017. Lino Simonetti (38) of Aungier Street, Dublin, pictured leaving the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court this afternoon after receiving a four year suspended sentence. He previously pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at his home in September, 2016. Pic Collins Courts.

Fiona Ferguson

An Italian chef has avoided a prison sentence after being caught with over €30,000 of drugs.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Lino Simonetti (38) had previously being a “decent law abiding” person but began an “unfortunate descent” into cocaine use when he came to Ireland.

Simonetti of Aungier Street, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at his home on September 28, 2016.

Garda Brian Quinn told Dean Kelly BL, prosecuting, that gardai searched Simonetti's home after obtaining a warrant and he pointed out all items of interest to gardai before his arrest.

Gardai recovered cannabis herb valued at €29,600, cocaine valued at €3,080, as well as small amounts of MDMA and ketamine. Simonetti also directed gardai to bagging and a weighing scales.

Simonetti, who has no previous convictions, told gardai he had a cocaine and cannabis habit and was spending about €300 a week on it. He began selling in order to obtain drugs for himself.

Gda Quinn agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending, that Simonetti had been pulled into a “particular orbit” through his use of cocaine. The garda agreed a “debt” could be built up quickly.

Mr Gillane handed in testimonials on his clients behalf, including one from his employers.

He said Simonetti had worked in hospitals in Kenya and other African countries. His work prior to coming to Ireland also included education projects for children with special needs.

Counsel said that “in every respect before coming to Ireland Simonetti had been decent and law abiding”. He said there was nothing in his client's past that would have given anyone a clue that he would commit this offence.

He said Simonetti came to Ireland about four years ago and had begun a “terribly unfortunate descent” into cocaine use. He said Simonetti had dealt with his use of drugs and was now “in much better fettle and appearance.” He asked the court to treat him as leniently as possible.

Judge Martin Nolan noted Simonetti had rehabilitated himself as far as drug dealing was concerned. He noted his early guilty plea, cooperation and work history.

He said it was unlikely Simonetti would come before the courts again in relation to this type of offending.

He imposed a four-year sentence which he suspended in full on strict conditions.

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