by Finian Coghlan
A man already serving a six-year sentence for drug dealing is now facing an additional 10 years after being charged this week (April 3 ) with possession of €35,000 worth of heroin and cocaine at an address in Moate last year.
Aaron Gabbutt (34 ), originally from Dublin, but who had been living at Slíabh Rua in Moate in recent times, attended Athlone District Court from the Midlands Prison to hear senior members of the drugs squad from both Mullingar and Athlone give evidence of how his charges were put to him that morning.
Gabbutt is charged with Section 15a of the Misuse of Drugs Act after gardaí allegedly found €30,000 worth of cocaine, and €5,000 of heroin during a search of his house in the Moate estate betwen the N6 and the Clara Road on June 1.
This charge allows for a mandatory 10-year sentence for anyone convicted of possession of drugs with a value of more than €13,000.
Detective Aidan Lyons told the court that the book of evidence in this case was not yet finalised, but was of the opinion it would be ready within a month.
He went on to say that despite Gabbutt being sentenced to six years in jail on a separate matter five months ago, the Gardaí were opposed to bail on this charge as the defendant was due to appear in Tullamore Circuit Court shortly to be tried for assault.
Pointing out it was impossible for Gabbutt to get High Court bail to grant him freedom before the book of evidence was presented to him and his defence team on account of the sentence he is already serving, Judge Seamus Hughes denied this technicality on account of the unnecessary cost to the State it could accrue.
Because Gabbutt had been issued with his body warrant that morning in the Midlands Prison to appear in court and was unable to contact his solicitor, Mr Cahir O’Higgins, Judge Hughes remanded him to appear at Cloverhill District Court next Wednesday (April 10 ) to allow his legal team tidy up the loose ends of the case before returning to Athlone next month for the book of evidence and a date for hearing in the Circuit Court.