Louth Orthodontist (40) pleads guilty to drug charges

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The Argus

A 40-year-old orthodontist who pleaded guilty at the district court to the sale or supply of drugs has been remanded on continuing bail for reports.

Mark Curley, Greenacres, Dundalk, was warned that nothing was being guaranteed. Judge McKiernan said she was not happy with similar previous convictions.

Evidence was given that gardaí found cannabis herb, and small amounts of cannabis resin and cocaine, with a total value of €2,430, in the car the defendant was driving and in a follow-up search at his house.

It was stated that this incident caused him to change his lifestyle. He was no longer using cannabis.

Mr Curley admitted possession for sale or supply of cannabis at the N52 Inner Relief Road and at Greenacres, and three counts of possession of cannabis herb and cannabis, and one count of possession of cocaine.

Det Gda Gerard Blaine testified that while on mobile patrol at 5.10pm on 11 September 2020 there were two lanes of traffic as he approached a garda checkpoint on the Inner Relief Road.

He noticed that the driver of a Mercedes E Class alongside appeared to be ‘shuffling about’.

On investigation he got a smell of cannabis from this car. The driver’s hand was visibly shaking.

He informed the defendant that he was going to search the vehicle. Mr Curley said there was cannabis herb in the glove compartment.

Det Gda Blaine said he found 65g of the drug in the glove compartment.

Mark Curley was arrested for Section 15 possession of drugs. He made no reply after caution.

The court then heard gardaí obtained three separate search warrants including one for the accused’s address in Greenacres.

There, they found cannabis herb and small amount of cannabis resin and cocaine, as well as a digital weighing scale and eight or nine empty ‘deal’ bags.

There were five previous convictions, including for Section 3 and Section 15 possession of drugs.

Cross-examined by solicitor Frank McDonnell, Det Gda Blaine said it was ‘clear’ that the defendant was using cannabis himself.

He ran his own business, was involved in local sport, attended Turas Counselling Service and was no longer using cannabis.

Mr McDonnell put it to the witness that this incident had caused his client to radically change his lifestyle, and the officer replied he hoped so.

He had an orthodontic technician business and employed people.

In reply to Judge McKiernan, Det Gda Blaine said it was his belief Mr Curley was supplying drugs. It was a large amount for him and one other person he said he supplied to.

He had seized two plastic tubs of cannabis herb, a large Ziploc bag of cannabis mixed in with mostly tobacco and a small amount of cocaine which appeared to have been there a long time.

Also seized was a mobile phone. Nothing was downloaded from it.

‘What led you to believe he was selling?’ Judge McKiernan pressed.

Det Gda Blaine replied the value of the drugs and the digital weighing scale. Gardaí valued cannabis herb at €20 a gramme.

He had sent his file to the DPP.

Mr McDonnell said there was nothing on the contrary to suggest why his client had the drugs. He had bought them for himself in large amounts, not for supply.

The defendant wasn’t asked to have his phone looked at. There were no lists.

The solicitor admitted that the previous convictions were ‘the elephant in the room’ and an aggravating factor. While using drugs in his late teens he was never subject of a prosecution ‘until caught in 2014’.

Mr Curley had done everything to turn his life around.

Judge McKiernan said a custodial sentence was to the forefront of her mind because of the previous convictions.

She noted a letter from Mr Curley’s counsellor and said that these cases should be progressed far faster.

The defendant was remanded on continuing bail to 3 May for a probation report and community service assessment. The court was not guaranteeing anything.