Suspended sentence for Tuam man on heroin charges

A Tuam man who gardaí found buying heroin in a Dublin flat to sell to his friends in Galway has received a suspended jail sentence.

Gardaí accepted that David Doherty was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and he was simply in the flat to buy the €905 worth of heroin.

He told gardaí he came to Dublin to spend €325 on heroin, some of which he would use and the rest he would “sell to his mates in Tuam”.

Doherty (28 ) of Ballinamona Park, Tuam, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of heroin for sale or supply on North Circular Road, on June 27 2013. He has 49 previous convictions, which were mainly for road traffic convictions. 

His co-accused, Stephen Lunders (36 ), previously of Rathmines Road Lower, Rathmines, pleaded guilty to the same charge in the same place. He has 28 previous convictions, which include drug offences, and is now living in his stepfather’s home in Leixlip, Co Kildare. 

Judge Mary Ellen Ring suspended a sentence of two and a half years for Doherty on condition that he keeps the peace and continues to attend Tuam Community Training Centre. She said that he has made significant progress in dealing with his heroin addiction.

Doherty has charges pending at Galway Circuit Criminal Court for allegedly possessing €15,000 worth of heroin for sale or supply at a hotel in Galway city on March 14 2014.

Lunders took full responsibility for the majority of the drugs which were found in the flat which had a total value of €14,383. He claimed he had been dealing to help pay off a drug debt his now deceased brother had run up. 

Judge Ring imposed a three year jail term on Lunders but suspended the last 18 months.

Garda Seamus Donoghue told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that the flat was raided by gardaí following a tip-off.

Doherty was searched and six grams of heroin were found on him. He was arrested later and made various admissions in interview. He said he had been in the flat for less than 15 minutes and had no idea how much drugs were in the house.

Garda Donoghue said Lunders was also searched and two ounces of heroin, worth €9,000, were found in his front left jeans pocket, while €1,010 in cash was found in his back right pocket.

A coffee table in the centre of the room had a plate with loose heroin on it. There was bagging beside the plate, which Garda Donoghue said was consistent with preparing the drugs for street dealing. 

There were also small made-up deals on the table, along with an electronic weighing scales. 

Garda Donoghue agreed with Marc Thompson Grolimund BL, defending, that Doherty was “in the wrong place at the wrong time” and he was only responsible for the heroin found on him. 

Counsel said Doherty is no longer taking heroin and is now stable on methadone. He is still unemployed but he is minding his children while his partner is taking part in a FÁS course.

Rebecca Smith BL, defending, said Lunders is still under a serious threat over a debt for which he is now responsible since his brother’s death. She said he has moved out of the city centre and is now on methadone maintenance.

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