A DISTRICT Court Judge told a 23-year-old Dunmanway man that if he has enough disposable income to buy cocaine, then he can afford to pay a fine of €1,000.
Judge James McNulty made the remark when dealing with the case of Eoin Murray of Togher, Dunmanway who pleaded guilty to the possession of cocaine, when the case was heard at a recent sitting of Bandon District Court.
Insp David Callaghan told the court that on May 5th last year Det Gda Manus O’Donnell was on duty in Kinsale when he saw the defendant acting suspiciously at the Back Glen and carried out a search of him.
‘He recovered a white powder substance from him which turned out to be cocaine and Mr Murray told him it was for his own personal use,’ said Insp Callaghan. ‘The amount was €50. He co-operated fully and he has no previous convictions for drugs, but does have for other offences.’
Solicitor Ray Hennessy said that on the night in question someone in his client’s company provided him with the cocaine and that he does not take the drug normally.
Giving evidence, Mr Murray said that he never takes drugs and is willing to undergo drug tests for the court.
‘I was just out on the night and led astray and I am prepared to do urinalysis at my own expense,’ said Mr Murray.
Judge James McNulty remarked that he had seen the defendant only recently in court where he had kicked the door of someone’s house while drunk and now he is found with cocaine.
‘He will need €1,000 to avoid going to jail. It’s a Class A drug and if he has disposable income to facilitate cocaine he can pay,’ said Judge McNulty.
However, Mr Hennessy said that his client had pleaded guilty to the possession charge and has no previous drug convictions and argued that most courts would not contemplate a jail sentence for a first drugs offence.
Judge McNulty said he wouldn’t change his mind and adjourned the case until December 16th for the defendant to be in court with a bank draft to cover the intended fine of €1,000.
The judge then fixed recognisances in the event of an appeal in the defendant’s own bond of €1,000, with half of that bond to be provided in cash.