Thursday 14 December 2017

Man caught holding drugs worth €1m in his garden shed is jailed

Fiona Ferguson

A father of two who was caught holding just over €1million of drugs in his garden shed has been given an eight year sentence.

Stephen Reddington (32) of Wheatfield Avenue, Clondalkin, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of heroin in the shed at his home for sale or supply on November 21, 2011.

The court heard that when gardai arrived to search his home Reddington told them there were no drugs in the house but showed them out to a shed in the back garden and pointed out a large number of cylindrical containers containing the drugs. Mixing agents were also recovered.

The case had originally been dismissed by Judge Mary Ellen Ring in 2013 after she ruled that she was not satisfied that the search warrant was granted in accordance with law. This was overturned in the Court of Appeal and the case was reinstated.

Judge Melanie Greally said the seizure of drugs in the order of €1.2 million was towards the top end of the scale but she accepted there were exceptional circumstances.

She accepted Reddington had been an abuser of cocaine but did not accept that he was someone with a severe addiction. She noted that he has taken steps to address the various issues in his life which contributed to his role in the offence and he was now clean of cocaine.

She noted as a result of his “interaction with the drug fraternity” he had been a victim of violence.

Judge Greally imposed an eight year sentence and suspended the final three years.

Garda Kevin Dingley told Vincent Heneghan BL, prosecuting, that Reddington had told gardai searching the house that the drugs were in the garden shed “because of him”. Fingerprints were found on some of the items seized.

He said Reddington had 28 previous convictions and had been employed in painting and decorating.

Kieran Kelly BL, defending, handed in letters and testimonials on his clients behalf which he said were testament to his willingness and desire to move on with his life.

He asked the court to take into account his client's guilty plea after the charge was reinstated and the fact he had taken responsibility for the drugs.

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