Judge warns of increase in vulnerable people being used in drugs trade

A district court judge has warned that there is an increasing incidence of people with no previous convictions being used for drug dealing and other criminal activities by those higher up in the chain.

Judge Mary Fahy gave the warning at Galway District Court on Monday before imposing a six month jail sentence on Adrian Cheevers (49 ) with an address at 16 Glennaslat, Monivea, who pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply at his home address, and possession of cannabis with intent to sell or supply at Shantalla Road on April 21, 2011. A second charge of possession was withdrawn by the State.

Inspector Ernie Whyte told the court that the defendant was stopped driving his car on Shantalla Road and had been found in possession of cannabis with a street value of €500. Following a search of his home address a further €100 worth of cannabis was found on weighing scales. When questioned by gardai Cheevers admited the drugs were his and that he took a lot of drugs for pain relief. The inspector added that Cheevers had no previous convictions.

Defence solicitor Adrian MacLynn said that his client had been on disability and unemployment benefit, and that he had suffered injuries to his back from heavy lifting. Mr MacLynn further explained that Cheevers had undergone a spinal fusion operation but this was unsuccessful and that his client now continues to attend his GP in relation to his back problems and is continually in a lot of pain.

“There is a big difference from that and leaving his home, going into the city with drugs. It’s a big leap,” said a sceptical Judge Fahy.

Mr MacLynn replied that Cheevers had sold cannabis a few times to his friends and stressed that it was a very minor role.

“I’m getting this all the time... these people with no previous are being used by people higher up in the chain because they are unlikely to be detected. It’s becoming quite obvious,” said Judge Fahy before convicting Cheevers of possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Shantalla Road and imposing a six month sentence. For the remaining charges a further six month sentence was imposed, to run concurrently, as well as a two year disqualification from driving and a €600 fine with six months to pay. Leave to appeal was granted.

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