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¤1.7m drugs man tortured

A MAN who built up a drug debt of €180,000 was abducted and tortured by the criminal gang he owed money to, a court has heard.

Darren Kearns (31) of Ashington Dale, Navan Road, Dublin, was jailed for six years after pleading guilty to the possession of cannabis herb with a street value of €1.76m in August 2010.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard he was spending €1,000-a-day on cocaine at the time of the offence.

He told gardai that he had been forced to transport the drugs to Newry to reduce his drugs debt by €2,000. Judge Martin Nolan said: "Kearns is mature man. He built up a large debt and is the author of his own misfortunes."

Teens facing gang rape trial

TWO youths accused of repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her have been sent forward for trial.

It is alleged the girl was abused by six youths, whose ages range from 17 to 19 at three locations in Co Kildare.

Two of them, both aged 17, who were initially charged in October, appeared again at the Dublin Children's Court.

The pair, who were accompanied by their mothers, were served with books of evidence by Garda Paul Carney yesterday.

The trial will take place in June at Naas Circuit Court.

Trucker's ¤17k for pallet injury

A TRUCK driver who suffered head injuries when a loose load of broken pallets fell on him has been awarded ¤17,300 damages.

John Paul Curran (39), of The Close, Millmount Abbey, Drogheda, Co Louth, had been very fortunate not to lose an eye, a judge at the Circuit Criminal Court said.

The Boylan Logistics driver was injured at Ace Express Pallets Ltd at Blakes Cross, Lusk, Co Dublin.

Oscars auction raises $3m

Fifteen Oscar statuettes have sold for $3m (¤2.25m).

The top price was for Herman Mankiewicz's statuette for best screenplay, which he won for co-writing Citizen Kane with Orson Welles. The Oscar sold for $588,455 (¤441,550) Welles' own best screenplay Oscar fetched $861,542 (¤646 463) at an auction in December.