Sunday 19 November 2017

‘Out of it’ Irish Apprentice star cannot recall cocaine use on night of dispute with taxi driver

Michelle Massey leaving Dún Laoighaire District Court last month Photo: Mark Condren
Michelle Massey leaving Dún Laoighaire District Court last month Photo: Mark Condren

Andrew Phelan

A former winner of the Irish Apprentice was so “out of it” after a night’s drinking that she became violent in a dispute with a taxi driver and could not remember taking cocaine, a court heard.

Michelle Massey (34) was found with the drug in her pocket when she was searched in a garda station following her arrest after the drunken episode in south Dublin.

Massey told Dun Laoghaire District Court she was having a “pretty rough time” when she was found with the cocaine.

Her lawyer said it had been a “bad night, a one-off” for Massey, who had never used drugs before and had no recollection of taking the cocaine.

Judge Ann Watkin said she was “seriously considering” leaving her with no criminal record if she undertakes voluntary work and provides clean urinalysis results.

She said she also wanted clarification from a probation report that the “anger issue is dealt with”. She adjourned the case for an updated report.

Massey, of Corrig Hall, Ticknock Hill in Sandyford, admitted public drunkenness and threatening and abusive behaviour at Tanney Road in Dundrum on May 1, 2015.

She also pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine at Blackrock Garda Station on the same date.

A previous report stated Massey told her probation officer that two deals of cocaine had been placed in her trouser pocket by an unknown person without her knowledge.

Defence solicitor Richard Young said his client had no recollection of it, was “someone who would never have abused drugs” and found it hard to believe she had acted in such a manner.

However, having discussed the facts with her, she now accepted that in the circumstances “that is what must have occurred – that she would have been in possession and would have consumed same.”

Because there was some cocaine found and an empty wrapper, she “accepts there must have been consumption”, Mr Young said. The court heard Massey had no previous convictions of any kind.

On the night, she had gone out to a licensed premises in the city centre and consumed a “large amount of alcohol”.

She was going through a difficult period at the time and she “foolishly decided to go out and become quite intoxicated.”

Asked by the judge if this was why she took the drug, Mr Young said: “Perhaps, unfortunately she has no recollection.”

Sgt Peadar McCann confirmed that the garda evidence was that Massey had been “completely out of it”.

“I was having a pretty rough time,” Massey, upset and visibly trembling, told the judge in evidence.

She said she was “really into fitness”, and was training six days per week. The judge asked what her regular consumption of alcohol was.

“Maybe a glass of wine with dinner,” Massey said, explaining that any more “would ruin my training”.

Mr Young said his client apologised to the taxi driver and the gardai.

“It’s a bad night, it’s a one-off,” Mr Young added.

Massey paid €500 into court as ‘restitution’ and Mr Young asked the judge to consider leaving her without criminal convictions.

Judge Watkin said this was a “big ask” and that the probation service was unable to make an assessment about Massey’s “violent behaviour” because she had denied taking cocaine.

The judge wanted the updated report to address this.

 A former sales consultant originally from Peterborough in England, Massey won the third series of the Irish version of The Apprentice TV show in 2010.

Her prize at the time was a one-year €100,000 contract working for entrepreneur Bill Cullen.

According to Massey’s LinkedIn profile, she currently works as a senior account manager for a US multi-national company.

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