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Meath resident who was living in her car avoids jail on drugs charge

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A Meath resident who was found in possession of a bar of cannabis resin after her ex-boyfriend was unable to pay for the diesel he had put in his van has avoided jail.

Deirdre Griffin (25) was in “dire circumstances” and living in her car around the time of the offences.

The court heard she is now in a stable relationship with a new partner and is clean of drugs.

Griffin, of Oliver Plunkett Road, Kells pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis resin valued at €1,476 for sale or supply at Texaco, Dublin Road, Balbriggan on June 4, 2013.

Her former partner, Christopher O’Toole (39), of Castlegrange Avenue, Swords, received a five year suspended sentence on WED/earlier this week after he took responsibility for €26,000 of the controlled drug PVP or “snow blow” also found in the van. Griffin had no knowledge of the presence of that drug.

Judge Sarah Berkeley noted the efforts Griffin has made to turn her life around and imposed an 18 month sentence which she suspended in full on strict conditions.

Garda Stephen Hughes told Colm O’Briain BL, prosecuting, that gardai were alerted by staff at the service station that a man had filled up his van with diesel but did not have the money to pay. O’Toole told gardai he was waiting for a friend to arrive and that his girlfriend had gone into the shop after they had an argument.

Griffin was in an office inside the shop displaying a high level of paranoia. She said she was in fear of her life and did not want to go out. She had taken some “snow blow” which O’Toole had given her.

Gardai searched the van after observing a small amount of white powder inside. They found the bar of cannabis resin behind the radio and on further inspection discovered the quantities of PVP unconnected to Griffin. She admitted possession of the bar of cannabis only.

She has six previous convictions for road traffic offences.

Gda Hughes agreed with Isobel Kennedy SC, defending, that the van belonged to O’Toole. He agreed Griffin was in a difficult position at the time and had been living in her car but is now in a stable situation.

Ms Kennedy said Griffin had been a carer for her mother, who suffered from cancer, prior to her death in 2004.  She said she started using drugs after leaving school and became addicted to cocaine.

She said Griffin had made “Trojan efforts” to address her addiction and was now clean of drugs.

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