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Taxi driver caught with €120k of cannabis jailed for six years

A TAXI driver who was caught with almost €120,000 worth of cannabis herb has received a prison sentence of six years at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Joseph Bride (45) of Mount Olive Park, Kilbarrack, pleaded guilty to possession of the cannabis for sale or supply at Laytown, Co Meath on September 17, 2010. He has no previous convictions and has not come to garda attention since.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended the last year of a six year term. She said that Bride never offered any explanation for why he became involved in the drugs operation.

Detective Garda Alan Monaghan told Shane Costelloe BL, prosecuting that gardaí mounted a surveillance operation in a pub carpark in Blanchardstown following a tip off.

They then saw “an interaction” between Bride’s taxi and a silver Audi that later pulled into the carpark at about 4.30 that afternoon.

Det Gda Monaghan said the taxi was later stopped in Meath and two holdall bags with 9.7 killogramme of cannabis herb, with an estimated street value of €116,562, were found in the boot.

Bride’s passenger made immediate admissions to the gardaí while Bride claimed he didn’t know anything about it and had just picked up this other man.

Det Gda Monaghan said this other man later retracted his admission to gardaí but then pleaded guilty and was jailed for four years.

Bride pleaded guilty three days before his trial was due to take place last February.

Det Gda Monaghan agreed with Mr Costelloe that there was evidence of phone traffic between Bride and his passenger “for a period of time in advance of their arrest”, which didn’t support Bride’s story that he didn’t know the other man.

Det Gda Monaghan agreed with Mary Rose Gearty SC, defending, that her client is a father of four whose wife became seriously ill the year before the offence. His own father, whom he had been very close to, died a short time before his arrest.

Ms Gearty said her client does voluntary work for young people in his locality and assisted in opening a club for them.

She said this was something Bride “clearly should not have done” but asked that the court show mercy on him.

Ms Gearty agreed with Judge Ring that her client did not shown much respect for his late father or his ill wife when he got involved in this offence.

The judge also commented that he was transporting drugs, which a large number of young people use, a group of people which she said Bride claimed to have an interest in helping.

She said there was no evidence of Bride coming under threats or duress and he offered no explanation to the gardai for how he became involved.

Online Editors