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'Get a warrant' drug bust party host left without conviction

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Chris Bent

Chris Bent

Chris Bent

A FILM student who hosted an out-of-control post-Leaving Cert party that led to a drugs bust at his family home has avoided a criminal record by making a charity donation.

Chris Bent (20) refused to stop the house party despite complaints and ordered gardai off his property unless they had a warrant.

The officers returned 90 minutes later with one and raided the house, searching 68 people and arresting four.

Bent was prosecuted for permitting his home to be used for drugs offences.

His parents had been away on holiday and told him he could "have a few friends over" but word got around that he had a free house.

Dublin District Court heard that the ensuing events were "every parent's nightmare".

Judge Michael Walsh dismissed the charges under the Probation Act after the accused paid €500 to charity and undertook voluntary work.

Bent had pleaded guilty to three counts of permitting the possession and smoking of cannabis as the occupant of the house and allowing the sale, supply or distribution of a psychedelic drug. The offences happened at Kenilworth Square, Rathgar on July 28.

His father Eugene Bent - the communications and retention director at Dublin Chamber of Commerce - accompanied his son to court.

The case was heard earlier this year and when it came back before the court, Judge Michael Walsh applied the Probation Act, leaving Bent without criminal convictions.

CANNABIS

Defence Barrister Kate McCormack had told the judge a conviction could have a major impact on his life and career.

"I am giving you a chance, Mr Bent, I don't want to see you back before the court again," the judge said.

Previously, Sgt Zita Woods said gardai were called to the house at 7.30am following complaints from neighbours that the party had "got out of hand", with bottles being thrown around.

Officers saw men smoking suspected cannabis in front of the house, called Bent out and asked him to stop the party.

"He demanded that the gardai get off his property without a warrant," Sgt Woods said.

They returned at 9am with a drugs warrant. A total of 68 people were searched, as well as a room in which cannabis had been smoked. Empty bags that had contained drugs were recovered.

Bent admitted knowing people were taking drugs in his house. However, he told gardai he thought it was only in the one room and that only cannabis was involved. He was also not taking, selling or supplying drugs to anyone.

hnews@herald.ie


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