Monday 22 January 2018

Seven year sentence for storing €110,000 drugs

Sonya McLean

A MAN who was caught storing cannabis, cocaine and heroin with a combined value of over €110,000 has been sentenced to seven years after a judge said gardaí must be supported in their "relentless job".

David O Hanlon (24) of Lindisfarne Avenue, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply at his home on June 14, 2011.

The 1.07 kilogrammes of cocaine was worth an estimated €75,136, the 252 grammes of heroin worth €37,933 and a small quantity of cannabis, 52.5 grammes, had an estimated street value of €630.

Judge Patrick McCartan told O Hanlon that the law that states that a person caught in possession of drugs with a value of over €13,000 must receive a minimum ten year sentence or a maximum life sentence unless the court is satisfied there are exceptional circumstances in the case.

“The legislation is there to reflect the serious attitude we have to take to people who engage in the drugs industry because of the havoc drugs have on our society,” the judge said.

“There are killings day in and day out, people losing their lives either directly or indirectly because of drugs and all because of the vast amount of money to be made,” Judge McCartan continued.

He accepted that O Hanlon stood over his initial admissions and co-operated with the gardai and said in those circumstances it would be “unjust to impose a ten year term”.

Judge McCartan said O Hanlon had “ultimately decided this was a way to make money” and made these “very colourful cocktail of deliveries”.

“Gardai must be supported in their relentless job” the judge said before he added that a “clear message” must go out to others that there is a prison term waiting should they get involved in similar offences.

“I am sorry you got yourself into this mess and regret my hands are very much tied in relation to the higher courts and legislature. I hope we don’t meet again,” Judge McCartan told O Hanlon.

He suspended the last three years of the seven year term and told O Hanlon that he hopes he would pick up his life again with the support of his family and get on with his future.

Garda Ciaran O’Neill told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that following a garda tip off, O Hanlon’s home was searched and he pointed out to gardaí where they would find the various drugs in his bedroom.

Gda O’Neill said he made full admissions in relation to his own responsibility for the drugs but would not give information as to who owned the drugs or to whom he had distributed them. O Hanlon claimed to be in fear for his life and that of his family.

He told gardai he was minding the drugs for someone else and would receive phone calls to tell him where to drop the drugs.

Gda O’Neill accepted O Hanlon is a heavy cannabis user and has one previous conviction at the District Court for drug possession.

He agreed with Aidan Doyle SC, defending, that O Hanlon came from a very respectable family and said his mother was a lovely lady who was shocked by her son’s involvement in the crime.

Gda O’Neill accepted O Hanlon’s role was to store the drugs and hand them over when ordered to do so and that he was to receive €500 for his involvement.

He further accepted that O Hanlon would be low down the ladder in the drugs operation.

Mr Doyle asked Judge McCartan to take into account’s O Hanlon’s co-operation with the garda investigation, his admissions and his level of involvement in the operation when imposing sentence.

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