Man assaulted his friend because he thought he was supplying his son with drugs
A widower who assaulted a friend he suspected of supplying drugs to his troubled son himself turned to dealing in pills when short of money for Christmas.
Justin Doody of 14 Beachside Close, Riverchapel, Courtown, was caught with illicit blue pills worth in excess of €30,000 near his home.
The result was 20 months in jail for the father of three when he appeared at a sentencing hearing in the Circuit Court at Wexford.
But first Judge James McCourt was given details of the assault which occurred on a grassy area in the Gorey Tesco complex.
CCTV footage dating from August 28, 2019 showed the defendant striding up to a man who was sitting on the grass with two companions.
Doody landed a kick full force in the seated man’s upper torso or throat area and then struck his victim several times with a plastic bottle.
The matter was investigated by Detective Garda Alan O’Shea who informed the court that the injured party made no complaint about the matter.
There was no medical report, no victim impact statement and the assaulted individual was not present in court.
The judge also learned that the accused had nine previous convictions under the theft act, including at least one for burglary.
His record also showed 19 road traffic offences but nothing previous for violent behaviour.
Responding to questions from defence counsel Laura Cunningham, the detective agreed that the defendant had a son with addiction issues.
It was confirmed during the hearing that he also had a 12-year-son and a third son who was studying for a master’s degree at UCD.
The defendant’s wife died in 2017 after a four year battle against cancer.
Details of his drug dealing in blue pills were provided by Detective Garda Jacinta Gordon.
She told how Doody had hidden 3,000 alprazolam in the garden of an unoccupied house near his home.
However, they were accidentally discovered by workmen who arrived to carry out some work at the property late in October of 2019.
The haul was later valued at €5,846 and when it was lost the defendant made arrangements to obtain more, on a larger scale.
He was tackled to the ground when he attempted to escape from gardaí who arrived in Beachside Close on November 8, just over a week later.
The arresting officers discovered that their suspect had a black bag containing 15,523 alprazolam tablets, with a street value put at €31,046.
Ms Cunningham reckoned that her client had been trying to keep the family together in the wake of his wife’s death.
However, his finances went to ruin and he turned to drug dealing in a way the barrister suggested was not at all sophisticated.
Doody was called into the witness box where he told how he had mortgage payments of €600 monthly to make out of the social welfare paid to him and his youngest son.
The boy was now staying with his maternal grandparents the accused hoped to rent out the house in Beachside Close.
Judge McCourt accepted that Doody had suffered upheaval caused by the death of his beloved wife.
The evidence painted a picture of a confused man trying to raise money for Christmas through a criminal folly, if sent to prison.
The assault on August 28, 2019 attracted a jail sentence of 18 months, fully suspended.
The pills stored in the garden drew a 12 month sentence, which was also suspended in full.
However, he could not avoid prison altogether in view of the high value of the drugs contained in the black bag.
The seriousness of the crime was marked with a three and a half term, the concluding 22 months to be suspended.