A man who tested positive for a “plethora of drugs” every fortnight since July after promising then to get off them was jailed for six months this week (February 5 ).
“Six months for a gram of gear? Thanks, judge,” sneered Albert ‘Albie’ Marsh, (34 ) of Cherryfield Avenue, Athlone.
“Your system is overloaded with every drug ever invented. I set you a challenge in July [7, his last court appearance] and you failed hopelessly to deal with it. I said one more slip up and you’ll go to jail,” said Judge Seamus Hughes to the defendant.
On that date, Marsh was ordered to attend with the probation services, and undergo regular tests.
In court this week as the report was being handed in, the judge asked Marsh’s solicitor, Ms Niamh McLynn, if it was a good report, and she told him it was.
“It’s not a good report,” the judge contradicted.
“Why have you failed what I asked you to do?”
“I messed up,” said Marsh.
“From July 8 to January 28 you gave urinalysis. The word ‘positive’ is what I’m looking for. July 15: Cannabis, methadone, benzodiazapenes, opiates. July 30: the same. August: the same. Every fortnight you were positive for a plethora of drugs,” noted the judge as he threw the probation report to his desk, telling Ms McLynn: “Your client is still involved in the drug culture”.
At this point Marsh’s mother interjected, telling the court there were two deaths in the family recently.
“It’s easy for you to sit up there. You wouldn’t find it easy,” she shouted at the judge.
Marsh calmed his mother down, while Ms McLynn tried to explain how her client came from “difficult family circumstances”.
“Is there a family in Ireland that doesn’t have difficult family circumstances? Don’t come up to me with tragedy,” thundered a clearly impatient judge.
Inspector Nicholas Farrell then told the court that the DPP was presently preparing a further case against Marsh after gardaí allegedly found €3,000 of heroin following a search at his house in November, and described him as “a medium player on the Athlone [drug] scene”.
This was enough for the judge, and he sentenced Marsh to six months imprisonment.
In anticipation of an appeal he set recognisance at €1,000 of Marsh’s own money, and an independent surety of €2,000 of somebody else’s.