Jail a ‘wake-up call' for Bantry drug dealer

March 30th, 2019 10:15 PM

By Southern Star Team

Judge James McNulty had words of praise for the gardaí involved in the case.

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A 31-Year-old Bantry man who pleaded guilty to having cannabis, cocaine and MDMA for sale or supply, has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.

Solicitor Ray Hennessy asked Judge James McNulty not to send his client to James Burke of 93, Reenrour East, Bantry, to prison, saying: ‘Jail is the last thing to sort out addicts.’

But Judge McNulty said the accused, with 12 previous convictions, needed to go to jail as ‘a deterrent to others’, but he did mark three additional charges of ‘simple possession’ of cannabis, cocaine and MDMA on the same date as ‘proven but taken into consideration’.

In dealing with a further charge of possession of cannabis on October 28th 2018, for sale or supply, Judge McNulty imposed a 10-month sentence but suspended it for a period of two years.

Judge McNulty said he was suspending it on the condition that the accused – when he is released from jail – would ‘not use, consume, possess, buy, sell or supply any controlled drug’.

Sgt Paul Kelly, for the prosecution, said Det Gda Andrew Manning, other members of Bantry gardaí, as well as members of the drugs unit, obtained a search warrant for March 30th 2018.

When they entered the house, he said they asked James Burke if there were any illegal drugs on the premises and he handed over a clear bag and two plastic tubs containing various drugs, valued at €1,974.

Of the €2,290 cash that was seized on the day, Mr Hennessy said €490 of that was, in fact, the property of the accused’s brother and the court ordered that it be returned to him.

Mr Hennessy also submitted that the €1,800 that had been found in a wallet was money Mr Burke, a fisherman, had set aside to give his ex for care of their eight-year-old son. 

Judge McNulty instructed that the €1,800 be handed into the court service and re-directed to the mother of James Burke’s child. He also made an order for the destruction of the drugs and the forfeiture of the remaining cash.

When outlining the circumstance of the search on October 28th last, Sgt Kelly said James Burke saw the gardaí in the estate and he ran away. He jumped a ditch but was pursued and caught by the gardaí.

The accused gave evidence in his own defence. He said he had become heavily addicted to cocaine and his habit became so bad it ‘gave me a wake-up call’. Now, he said, he has ‘no interest in going anywhere near that shit again’.

James Burke offered to submit himself to random urinalysis tests, counselling, ‘or whatever it takes’.

Judge McNulty observed that the accused had a serious quantity of drugs in his possession for the purpose of sale or supply and that the accused is ‘clearly a dealer’. 

‘Being an addict is his misfortune. He cannot expect to be spared prison.’

The judge said: ‘It is important that those who use know that if and when they get sucked into dealing for their own supply, or to pay their debts, they will come to a stage where imprisonment is likely.’

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