Musician caught with head shop drugs in park

Andrew Phelan

A gifted musician who bought €5,000 worth of head shop drugs weeks before they were outlawed was caught "red-handed" with a hidden stash in a Dublin park.

David Hart (25) was seen by gardai moving a shopping bag full of the drugs from the base of a tree.

Dublin District Court heard he was trying to "get rid of" the substances after the seller refused to give him a refund when legislation banned them.

Hart, of Shangan Green, Ballymun, admitted a charge of possession of the mephedrone-based drugs at Albert College Park, Whitehall on June 9 last.

The court heard he was caught "red-handed" by gardai.

Garda Eamonn Taaffe said in evidence that the Dunnes Stores bag with the drugs was found at the base of a tree, hidden under a cement block.

It was replaced and kept under observation until 7.20pm, when the accused was confronted while removing it.

Hart was arrested and taken to Ballymun Garda Station, where he made full admissions, telling officers: "I was caught red-handed with it in my hand."

He had bought the drugs when they were legal four weeks earlier. But on May 14 legis-lation was passed banning mephedrone and he put the bag in the tree.

Hart went to return the drugs to the person he had bought them from and that person "unsurprisingly refused", his barrister said.

The court heard the defendant had been accepted to study at the College of Contemporary Music in California.

A conviction would create difficulties for him in travelling to the US. Judge John O'Neill said that while the defendant had pleaded guilty, the value of the drugs was "substantial".

He adjourned the case for two months for a probation report, saying he wanted to keep "all his options open".