Tuesday 16 July 2019

Cocaine accused made 'bad mistake'

Nicola Donnelly

A man who claimed a bag of cocaine that fell out of his pocket in front of gardai was given to him 'to hold' by a man he didn't know and that he made a 'ferocious mistake', a court has heard.

Gicusor Danila (48) has been convicted and fined €300 for being in possession of the drug after the presiding judge did not accept his evidence.

Danila came to garda attention at the time as he was drunk, unsteady on a his feet and talking to a number of youths, Balbriggan District Court heard. As gardai approached him, a small bag of cocaine, worth €70, fell out of his pocket. He was searched but no other drugs were found on him, the court heard.

The defendant, of Dun Saithne, Flemington Lane in Balbriggan pleaded guilty to being in unlawful possession of the cocaine at Castle Mills, Balbriggan on August 23, 2017. He has no previous convictions.

Defence barrister Annette Kealy said the father-of-two was standing outside a pub smoking a cigarette when someone asked him to hold the bag of cocaine.

'He foolishly did and realises it was a bad mistake,' said Ms Kealy, adding that the defendant doesn't take any drugs. 'He feels really bad and is worried about the consequences if he gets a drugs conviction. He is essentially a good man and made a ferocious mistake,' she said.

Sergeant Darren Farrelly said the excuse that he did not know the man and the man had asked him to hold the drug was not the excuse given to gardai at the time of his arrest.

"He had alcohol taken and his judgement was poor,' explained Ms Kealy. Judge Dermot Dempsey called the defendant to the stand to explain why he had the drug.

'It's the truth. He said 'Hold this for me.' I had a few drink. That was a very big mistake for me,' the defendant said.

When asked why did he accept the drug, the defendant replied: 'I regret it. I realise I shouldn't have done it. I don't know who he is.'

On hearing the evidence Judge Dempsey said he was not accepting it.

'He can live with the consequences. I am not accepting he didn't know the man who handed him a bag of white powder.'

Ms Kealy continued to explain the defendant's judgement was cloudy.

'In the overall scheme of things he hasn't come before the courts before. He is doing his best to provide for his family. He is contrite and remorseful and it was a stupid thing to do. He is not proud. He is ashamed,' said Ms Kealy.

Reiterating that he is not accepting the defendant's evidence, Judge Dempsey proceeded to convict and fine him €300. He fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal.

Fingal Independent