A 20-YEAR-old Aherla man who, his solicitor said, was targeted by a group of people involved in drug activity, has been disqualified from driving for two years and fined a total of €2,000 for drug driving and cocaine possession.
Eoin Madden of Scart Upper, Aherla, pleaded guilty to a number of offences at Bandon District Court, including dangerous driving, drug possession, drug driving and using non-conforming registration plates.
The court heard that at 10.40pm on January 29th last year Gda Daniel Curran and a colleague were on mobile patrol at Kilbrogan Hill in Bandon when they saw the defendant’s car driving up the hill at speed.
‘They noticed the registration plates on the car were non-conforming as the letters were raised and there was a reflective shine off them. The driver pulled in at The Hawthorns estate and gardaí approached the car,’ said Sgt Paul Kelly.
‘The defendant was agitated and appeared nervous and there was a strong smell of cannabis coming from the vehicle. Following a search of his car, Gda Curran found a small quantity of cocaine, valued at €20,’ said the garda.
Mr Madden admitted it was cocaine and said it was for his own personal use. Gardaí also carried out a roadside oral fluid test which tested positive for cocaine. He was arrested and brought to Bandon Garda Station where a blood specimen taken indicated that there was cocaine in his system.
The court heard that this is his third conviction for drug driving and he has three cases under appeal in the Circuit Court on severity of sentence, for two drug possession offences and one careless driving.
Solicitor Plunkett Taaffe said that after his client gained adulthood he got a full driving licence but was targeted by a number of others engaged in drug activity.
‘They targeted him and brought him to the attention of the gardaí and he was using drugs and they were using him. His parents realised he had fallen into bad company and his car was taken off him,’ said Mr Taaffe.
Mr Taaffe said his client has completed a full residential addiction course with Aséirí Kilkenny and has cut himself off from the ‘bad company’ he was keeping.
‘He did a full six weeks and struggled at the start but he needed to complete it and he has excellent family support. He is intoxicant free, and has to provide clear urinalysis for the Circuit Court.’
Judge McNulty was told the defendant is now working on the family farm, is re-engaging with supports and hopes to start a social work course in September.
Judge McNulty convicted and fined him a total €2,000 for the possession of cocaine and drug driving, and disqualified him from driving for two years.
He took into consideration the dangerous driving charge and struck out the charge of having non-conforming registration plates.
Mr Taaffe said that what attracted gardaí on the day was the defendant’s associates, two which Judge McNulty commented: ‘If you lie down with dogs, you get fleas.’
Recognisances in the event of an appeal were fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €100, with no cash required.