A judge has spoken of her frustration that more of the major players in the drugs’ trade are not being brought before the courts.
Judge McKiernan was speaking at Drogheda Court when hearing a case involving a 28-year-old man, with no previous convictions, who pleaded guilty to four charges relating to the seizure of cannabis valued in excess of €8,000.
It was stated on behalf of Paul O’Sullivan, Donore Road, Drogheda, that he had run up a large drugs debt.
‘What happens to the people he owes?’ the judge asked the prosecuting garda. The officer replied, ‘We try to tackle them’.
Judge McKiernan continued that in other cases of a similar nature it had also been submitted in mitigation that the accused owed a debt. She added it was ‘very frustrating for me’ that these were the people who should be brought before the court.
The garda said it was ‘very confidential’ and when asked again if the person O’Sullivan owed had been brought before the courts he replied, ‘I can’t say he has’.
Paul O’Sullivan, a father of three, pleaded guilty to possession and possession for sale or supply of cannabis at Donore Road on 31 May 2019 and on 25 February 2020.
Sgt John O’Hehir presented evidence that when gardaí arrived at the house at 11.45am on the date in 2019 they were met with a strong smell of cannabis. The defendant led officers to a utility room where there were 15 separate bags. They took a voluntary cautioned statement from him, and he was arrested.
The total amount of drugs was 287.5g with a street value of €5,750.
Sgt O’Hehir said that on 25 February 2020 gardaí executed another search warrant and seized cannabis valued €2,600 along with drugs paraphernalia.
The court heard from the garda involved that O’Sullivan co-operated in both prosecutions and that at the time he had a large drugs debt.
He was working since November 2020 and was ‘no longer of concern’ to the Garda Drugs Unit in Drogheda. He had been on the ‘lower branches’ and not a major player.
Solicitor Paddy Goodwin handed in to court letters on behalf of his client.
His employers were aware of the prosecution and willing to keep him on. He had twice been promoted.
‘That’s all very well. What brought him to sell drugs? What is the reason?’ the judge asked.
Mr Goodwin said O’Sullivan ‘stupidly took drugs himself’.
Judge McKiernan remarked she had no evidence of that. He got caught twice and there was no evidence he had a drugs problem or had got help to kick the habit
The solicitor said his client did it (got off drugs) himself.
Mr Goodwin said O’Sullivan’s third child, born in August, had medical difficulties. Letters from his partner’s doctor were also submitted. He had turned his life around and Mr Goodwin asked the court to let the defendant keep on that path. He was working and was needed at home.
The judge wondered where the justice was in that for the people he was supplying.
Mr Goodwin asked the court not to jail his client rather seek a probation report for community service.
Judge McKiernan said she would order a probation report given O’Sullivan’s family circumstances and seek a community service assessment but was ‘not guaranteeing anything’.
He was remanded on continuing bail to 10 January 2022.