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Head shop boss faces 10 years in jail over fake 'herbal Viagra'

THE owner of a chain of head shops faces up to 10 years in prison for illegally importing Viagra-like products.

James Bellamy (64) told gardai the drugs were herbal Chinese Viagra made from seal penises, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Tests showed some of the drugs contained anaesthetics, while the rest contained synthetic treatments for erectile dysfunction.

All the drugs were prescription-only and some are known to cause to seizures, comas and death in certain users.

Bellamy, of Castle Court, Killiney Hill Road, Killiney, and his company, Harmony Products, which is now in liquidation, was charged under the Irish Medicines Board Act for not having a licence to sell the products.

Documentation showed he imported 6,000 packages of the drugs, some of which were sold wholesale to other head shops.

The case was adjourned until next week so a statement of means for Bellamy can be produced. He faces up to 10 years in prison or a €120,000 fine, or both. Bellamy and Harmony Products pleaded guilty to importation of illegal medical products, selling the drugs wholesale without a licence and keeping Lidocaine for sale without a licence, all between March 18, 2008 and May 7, 2010.

Bellamy has three previous convictions related to possession of pornographic videos which had not been reviewed by the censor.

Brenda Kirby, an enforcement officer with the Irish Medicines Board, told prosecuting counsel Colm O'Briain that an investigation into the Myth and Magic head shop in Athlone uncovered "Viagra-type" drugs which had been purchased wholesale from Harmony Products.

Officers went to Bellamy's Nirvana shop on Capel Street and found 17 large boxes containing individual packages of the drugs.







Assets

Several days later Bellamy was interviewed and admitted importing them from China.

He said he was unaware he was doing anything illegal and didn't examine the products when he received them. He said he didn't have any documentation about the drugs but produced an email from his supplier which stated they were made from seal penises.

The judge remanded Bellamy on bail until next week and ordered a statement of his assets be produced.

hnews@herald.ie


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