Man jailed for cocaine possession is not the typical drug offender, says judge
A man sentenced to four years in prison today for possessing cocaine is a different offender to those in most of the drugs cases that come before the courts, a judge has said.
Judge Martin Nolan said Adam Barrett (24) was in a different position because he owned the €24,000 worth of cocaine discovered at his Spencer Dock apartment in Dublin four years ago.
The judge told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that the vast majority of offenders in court do not own the drugs they are caught with, but are transporting or holding them in order to pay a debt.
Barrett pleaded guilty to possessing the drugs for sale or supply, along with about €3,000 in cash at his address on April 10, 2014.
Judge Nolan sentenced him to four years in prison, but warned that the headline sentence in the case was six years.
“This was a serious drug-dealing operation. He owned the drugs and was going to sell them on. I've no doubt he made a profit and was going to make a profit,” said Judge Nolan.
He gave Barrett credit for his work record and his efforts to rehabilitate himself since his arrest.
“No doubt Barrett has plenty of intelligence and is well capable of work. If he puts his mind to it, he can reform himself,” said the judge.
Sergeant Vincent Campbell told Eoin Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that a total of 355 grammes of cocaine was found both in Barrett's apartment and in communal areas of the apartment block.
The cocaine had an estimated street value of €24,853.
Gardaí also found five mobile phones in Barrett's bedroom and a further seven phones in the living room.
Messages on the phones made reference to large numbers of people, including customers and suppliers, owing sums from between €50 to €500, said Sgt Campbell.
A digital weighing scales was also discovered, along with a small amount of cannabis.
The court heard that although Barrett cooperated with gardaí on his arrest, he relied on his right to silence during five interviews.
DNA samples were used to connect Barrett to the drugs found in his apartment and in the communal areas of the building.
Barrett has 65 previous convictions for minor offences, mostly for road traffic incidents but including a drugs offence.
Dominic McGinn SC, defending, said that since this offence, his client had moved to Spain to get away from a life of drugs.
He said Barrett had begun taking cocaine from the age of 18 but had stopped taking drugs in 2014 and was now completely substance free.
Mr McGinn said Barrett had a job offer in Torremolinos in Spain, but was arrested before he could take up the employment.
He said references from Barrett's school and FÁS spoke about him in “glowing terms” and that Barrett was on an enhanced regime in prison.
An education report showed that Barrett was studying a wide range of subjects while in prison.
Judge Nolan backdated the four year sentence to December 15 last, when Barrett was taken into custody.