A 24-YEAR-old IT recruitment consultant who was found with 10 deal bags of cocaine in two separate socks – enough for 100 lines of cocaine – during the Kinsale 7s last year, said he had the drug for his own personal use.
Lee Garvin from Kinsale but with an address at 19 Trimblestone Road, Booterstown, Dublin denied the charge of possessing cocaine with the purpose of sale or supply at Bandon District Court last week. However, he did plead guilty to possessing the drug and and using or engaging in threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour.
Det Gda Colin O’Mahony told the court he was on plain clothes duty with Gda Conor Ryan at 9.10pm in Kinsale on May 4th last when he walked past the accused who was outside The Armada Bar.
‘He was shouting abuse towards me as he is known to me and said ‘Colin, you fucking rat, you fucking c**t’ and then said it a second time in front of a large crowd gathered outside,’ said Det Gda O’Mahony.
He said the defendant was then arrested for a public order offence and brought to Kinsale Garda Station.
He was under the influence of intoxicants and handed over his property, including two socks (one black and one white), which were rolled into a ball that contained 10 separate deal bags of cocaine, the garda said.
The court heard that under 17 grammes of cocaine were seized with a street value of under €1,200.
Det Gda O’Mahony said the defendant called to the station two days later by appointment where he took a voluntary caution memo from him.
‘He made certain admissions and said the cocaine was for his own use.’
Mr Garvin was arrested on September 20th last on the sale or supply charge but he denied it and said he had planned to use the whole amount over that bank holiday weekend.
Det Gda O’Mahony told Insp Brian Murphy that one could get 100 lines of cocaine from the 10 deal bags and said it was ‘incredulous’ that all that could be for personal use.
‘You wouldn’t be breathing again after that much,’ he said.
Det Gda O’Mahony also said Garvin was invited to hand over his mobile phone on two occasions, on both May 6th and September 20th, but refused to do so. Solicitor Plunkett Taaffe argued that there was no further evidence, like a ‘tick list’, to show that his client was dealing, and that if he was a ‘dealer’ he wouldn’t be inviting trouble on him on the night in question.
Insp Murphy said that the State would rely on the assumption and presumption, based on the amount of cocaine, that it was not for personal use.
Giving evidence himself, Mr Garvin said he had bought the drug earlier that evening and had taken some of it and denied ever intending to sell it to anyone.
Insp Murphy said dealers come in all ‘shapes and sizes’ and there are ‘different ways to sell drugs.’
Mr Taaffe said his client is the eldest of two and that his father died in tragic circumstances three months before his birth and was reared by his mum in difficult circumstances. He asked the court not to impose a custodial sentence.
Judge James McNulty noted that Garvin has a previous conviction for cannabis possession.
‘He’s been treated leniently before and now he’s re-offending and what makes it more alarming is that on an evening in May in Kinsale last year, he was shouting vulgar and offensive remarks to a garda on duty. He admitted he had already taken cocaine and the mix of this and alcohol made him uninhibited,’ said Judge McNulty.
‘It was his brazenness that caused him to be searched, where gardaí found the 10 bags of cocaine and his assertion that it was for his own use was downright untruthful. He’s a savvy offender and well versed in his rights.’
Judge McNulty handed him down a 10-month prison sentence for possession of cocaine for the purpose of sale or supply. He also sentenced him to one month each in prison on the possession charge and the public order charge, with all sentences to run concurrently.
Recognisance for an appeal was fixed in the defendant’s own bond of €500 cash. Judge McNulty also set down two special bail conditions. He told him that he shall not use, consume, possess, buy or sell or supply any controlled drugs and that he will, on request by gardaí, provide an oral fluid sample to prove that.