THE mother of a 22-year-old man has told a district court judge that she was told to get her son out of the country because he had accrued a drug debt of €8,000.
Jennifer Deane told Judge James McNulty at Bandon District Court last week that her son, Thomas, was going to be harmed by drug dealers over the debt and that is why he was unable to engage with the probation services.
Engaging with probation officers was a condition of a suspended sentence that he had received at Bandon District Court in May 2021.
‘He left the country and went to the UK. I stayed here and his grandparents and I organised for the money to be paid back through our savings and by borrowing money,’ said a distressed Ms Deane.
Judge James McNulty said this was a ‘shocking story’ and that Thomas couldn’t engage with the probation services in the end as he had to leave the country ‘for fear of a bad beating’ from a drugs man.
‘The thugs who sold him the drugs threatened his family and his parents, and grandparents paid off the debt. That’s Ireland for you in 2023,’ said Judge McNulty.
Thomas Deane was convicted of assaulting Max Cronin and throwing a glass bottle arising out of incidents in Garrettstown on August 8th 2020.
He received a three-month sentence suspended for two years and was back in court last week for a breach of his bail because there was no engagement with the probation services.
Judge McNulty was told that the probation services were asking for his suspended sentence to be served.
Giving evidence, Jennifer Deane said that she and a member of the probation services had been coming up with a plan for Thomas when she and her family got threatened over his drug debt. She said once he left the country, she got him a job in the UK, and the threats are now gone.
She said she is hoping to get a job for her son in the factory where she works. The court also heard that Thomas of 16 Crann Torthai, Gouldshill, Mallow is a dad to a young son and no longer uses drugs.
Judge McNulty told Ms Deane that she and her family had ‘suffered enough’ and therefore the court would not be activating the suspended sentence.