A JUDGE has warned that those who get involved in the storing or transportation of illicit drugs must accept the consequences of their actions if they are caught.
Judge Tom O’Donnell made his comments this week as he imposed a lengthy prison sentence on a County Cork man who was caught transporting a significant amount of drugs from Limerick to Dublin.
Stephen Kieran, aged 34, who has an address at Brampton Court, Bishopstown pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis herb, worth almost €30,000 on May 8, 2013.
During a sentencing hearing earlier this year, Detective Garda Padraic Quirke said the drugs were seized when gardai stopped and searched a car at Garden Hill, near Castleconnell after receiving confidential information.
Limerick Circuit Court was told the defendant – who has a 10-year-old daughter – was sitting in the passenger seat of the car and that the drugs were located in a number of packages, which were wrapped in cling film.
Following his arrest, Kieran told gardai he had “inherited a debt owed by a third party” and that he had been told if he transported a package from Limerick to Dublin €150 would be taken off the debt.
He said he had collected the drugs in the city earlier in the day having travelled to Limerick from Cork.
The driver of the car was not prosecuted as Kieran made admissions and took full responsibility for the cannabis.
Andrew Sexton SC, said his client was operating at a low-level in the drugs trade and was not the owner of the drugs.
“If he didn’t do what he was asked to do, he would have been in a lot of trouble,” he said adding that his client had no trappings of wealth.
Imposing sentence, this Tuesday, Judge O’Donnell said he was concerned that Kieran has a number of previous convictions for drug-related offences.
He said an aggravating factor in the case was the value of the drugs seized but he said the defendant’s admissions and guilty plea were mitigating factors.
The judge said he was obliged to impose a prison sentence but added it “is not a case” where the mandatory minimum sentence of ten years imprisonment should apply.
He imposed a three-year sentence, suspending the final year for five years.
He ordered the destruction of the drugs seized.