A young Galway man who had been found in possession of cannabis, ecstasy tablets, and over €3,000 in drug debt, narrowly escaped jail this week when he received a nine-month suspended sentence.
Damien Feeney (24 ) with an address at 124 Manor Court, Knocknacarra, but formerly of Forramoyle East, Barna, appeared for a second time at Galway District Court last Monday. Feeney had pleaded guilty at a previous court sitting (October 3 ) to possession of cannabis, possession of ecstasy, and possession of cannabis resin with intent to sell or supply.
The court heard at the time that during a search of 124 Manor Court on February 2, 2007, cannabis, and 10 ecstasy tablets as well as a quantity of cash, totalling €3,290 had been found. The defendant had told gardai that this money was debt which belonged to his suppliers. The case was adjourned after it was revealed that Feeney had come to garda notice while waiting for these matters to be finalised and this had given Judge Mary Fahy second thoughts as to whether to impose a suspended sentence.
This week, the court heard that on May 18, 2008, at Eglinton Street the defendant did resist and wilfully obstruct Garda Rena Sheerin. A charge for threatening and abusive behaviour was withdrawn.
Garda Sheerin told the court that at 2.47am she had been placing another man in the patrol car when the defendant “struck out” at the back passenger door causing it to close on the back of her legs. She added that a highly intoxicated Feeney then tried to walk back into the crowd.
A member of the Garda Drugs Unit then confirmed that enquiries show that Feeney was no longer involved in the drug scene.
Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that her client had moved home and his parents were made aware of his difficulties with drug addiction. Regarding the offences on May 18 she said that Feeney had been under “immense stress” as he was causing his family embarrassment. She added that he went straight away to apologise to Garda Sheerin and that he had €500 in court to pay into the Garda Benevolent Fund.
Due to the manner in which Feeney acted towards Garda Sheerin, Judge Fahy said that it was clear that he had a “very volatile personality” and there are “underlying difficulties”. She said that her “15 years of experience would indicate” a “very high risk of him re-offending”.
For the possession of cannabis resin for sale or supply, Feeney received a nine month sentence suspended for 18 months on his own bond of €1,000, no lodgement. He was ordered to be of good behaviour and to not re-offend during this time. For the two counts of possession of drugs he was fined €300 each with three months to pay. For the offences on May 18 he was fined a total of €600 with three months to pay.