Sunday 22 April 2018

Man jailed for smuggling drugs into Mountjoy after prisoners allegedly threatened to break his brother's leg

The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin
The Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin

Sonya McLean and Aoife Nic Ardghail

A prisoner who brought drugs into Mountjoy under threat from other inmates that his brother's leg would be broken has been jailed for one year.

Gareth Carroll (36) was on temporary release when he got a call from inside the prison from a number of inmates who were with his brother at the time.

They instructed him to bring heroin, Valium and Xanax into the prison on his return and said if he refused to do so, his brother wouldn't be leaving with his legs intact.

Carroll returned to jail and prison officers later spotted drug paraphernalia on a table in his cell. He was searched and the drugs fell out of his underwear.

Carroll, of Cherry Orchard Avenue, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of €1,497 of heroin, €768 worth of diazepam and €286 of alprazolam on May 10, 2015. He was serving a sentence for a drug offence at the time.

Garda Barry Brennan told Dara Hayes BL, prosecuting, that both Carroll and his brother were serving sentences in Mountjoy when Carroll agreed to bring the drugs into the prison. He admitted that he had concealed the heroin and tablets internally.

Gda Brennan agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that Carroll's brother was later placed in protective custody in the jail.

Mr Spencer said Carroll was introduced to heroin as a 15 year old and had been a significant abuser of the drug since. He said the whole family had been blighted by drugs and his client had not had many opportunities in life.

Counsel told Judge Melanie Greally that there had been a “significant glimmer of hope recently” because Carroll was now committed to a new relationship and was free from drugs for the first time. He is stable on a methadone programme and is attending Narcotics Anonymous.

“He recognises that his addiction was a lifelong one that had caught hold of him from a young age but he now wants to break of that cycle and wants to invest himself in more wholesome interests,” Mr Spencer said.

Today Judge Greally noted that many in the prison population were there to rehabilitate and reform from drug abuse. She said people bringing such substances into prison were to be viewed “in a very serious light”.

She accepted that Carroll's own drug addiction was a major contributing factor to his crime, as was the credible threat to his brother.

She handed down a two-year sentence and suspended the final 12 months.

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