Wednesday 17 January 2018

Promising art student caught with €117,000 worth of heroin

Declan Brennan

A promising art student caught with €117,000 worth of heroin is to be sentenced next year.

Father of three Karl Whelan (23), a student of conceptual art at Ballyfermot College, told gardai he was forced to store them because of a debt resulting from his cannabis addiction.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Whelan comes from a very good family and a number of character references described him as honest and having “great potential”.

Whelan of Gurteen Park, Ballyfermot, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and heroin for sale or supply at his home at February 27, 2012.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring remanded him in custody until January when she will sentence him.

Garda Adrian Eustace told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that during a search of his home gardai found heroin in Whelan’s bedroom.

Whelan told them he owed €800 for his cannabis use. He said he had no idea the other package contained heroin, saying “It’s junkie shit, rotten. I was set up”.

Gardai also found a tick list in his writing and €1,000 worth of cannabis herb. He said he got half of this for his own use in return for receiving the cannabis.

There was an “amateur grow house” in the attic with drug growing paraphernalia such as heat lights, plant food and a foil tent. Garda Eustace said Whelan has not come to garda attention since this offence.

In an apology read out to the court Whelan said his arrest changed his life for the better and forced him to get clear of cannabis use.

Sharon Kelly from the Base Youth Centre, Ballyfermot, described how he had shown great energy and initiative in trying to develop a skate boarding park in the area.

Paul Comiskey O'Keeffe BL, defending, said Whelan is an artistic and creative person who “uses himself as a living canvas”.

He said that the amount of drugs involved in cases like this is something usually out of the control of the person asked to store them.

He also told that the court that the United Nations have advised against using unit pricing of drugs to estimate the value of seizures.

Irish Independent

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