A DISTRICT Court judge has told a 38-year-old Skibbereen man that he’s ‘engaged in community disservice by spreading the contagion of cocaine use.’
Judge James McNulty made the remark when sentencing Michael Casey of Apt 6, Cois Caol, Skibbereen, to 12 months in prison after he was convicted of selling drugs.
Gardaí had found drugs, cash, a tick list and a weighing scales at his home, almost two years ago.
Mr Casey contested the case and said that drugs found at his apartment were for his own personal use and that the cash found was from a job that he had done.
Det Gda Shannon Ryan told the court that on June 24th 2017 he obtained a search warrant for the accused’s home. He said surveillance had been carried out beforehand where a number of known drug users were seen coming and going at the premises.
‘I knocked on the door and there was no answer so we forced entry through a patio door. I met the accused standing by the sink in the kitchen and there was one other person there. It was fairly visible to see two clear bags of white powder on the table,’ said Det Gda Ryan.
‘I searched Mr Casey and found €1,025 of various denominations in his pocket and a bag of suspected cocaine and suspected MDMA. I also searched his wallet and found a blade and a snorting pipe in it and €250 in cash.’
Gardaí also found a clear bag of suspected cocaine in a cigarette box in a toilet upstairs, as well as eight clear deal bags of white powder in another wallet in a spare bedroom.
A tick list in a teapot in a cupboard and a weighing scales disguised as a calculator were also found. Mr Casey said he uses the weighing scales himself and that he gives his friends lines of cocaine for nothing.
Det Gda Ryan said the total amount of cash seized was €1,485, as well as €585 worth of cocaine, €55 worth of MDMA, mobile phones, tick lists and weighing scales.
Mr Casey denied the ‘tick list’ was his and said he didn’t know any of the names mentioned on it. A Motorola phone was also found with an encrypted app on it that included lists of names with numbers next to them. The accused denied ownership of the phone, despite giving gardaí the passwords for it.
Defence solicitor Ray Hennessy said his client was not dealing drugs.
‘He runs a business and he’s adamant that he’s not involved in the sale or supply of drugs or is one of the big dealers in Skibbereen,’ said Mr Hennessy.
Mr Casey said he had a problem with cocaine before but had given it up.
Supt Ger O’Mahony said that Mr Casey is involved in drug dealing and that he is the ‘boss’ and that all the evidence found at his home relates to drug dealing.
Judge McNulty said that none of the explanations offered by the defendant were credible.
‘The court has no doubt about his guilt,’ said Judge McNulty, who noted that Mr Casey was pleading guilty to the possession of cocaine and MDMA.
‘He’s engaged in community disservice spreading the contagion of cocaine use and it’s not far off a plague,’
added the judge.
Judge McNulty sentenced Mr Casey to 12 months in prison on the sale or supply charge, and to 90 days each, on the charges of possessing cocaine and MDMA, with both sentences to run concurrently.
Recognisance for an appeal was fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €1,000 with one independent surety of €6,000, with a third of that to be provided in cash.