State seeks to activate sentence imposed on Limerick drug dealer

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Hugo Porter: The State is seeking to activate a suspended sentence imposed last year
THE State is to make an application later today to activate a suspended prison sentence which was imposed on a County Limerick man last year after he pleaded guilty to drugs offences.

THE State is to make an application later today to activate a suspended prison sentence which was imposed on a County Limerick man last year after he pleaded guilty to drugs offences.

Hugo Porter, aged 41 of St Patrick’s Villas, Castleconnell appeared before Limerick Circuit Court this Wednesday to meet an application under Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act to activate all or part of the suspended sentence.

The father of four young children received a three-year suspended prison sentence at Limerick Circuit Court last year after he pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of cannabis worth almost €18,000 for the purpose of sale or supply.

The drugs were recovered by gardai during an operation at Garden Hill, Castleconnell on June 24, 2011.

Sentencing Porter in October 2014, Judge Carroll Moran insisted a letter written by Deputy Niall Collins urging for leniency had no influence on his decision to impose a suspended sentence.

A condition of the suspended sentence was that he stay out of trouble for three years.

The case had earlier come to national attention after it emerged that Mr Collins had written a letter on behalf of the widower who has been the sole carer of his four children following the death of his wife, who took her own life, in early 2014.

The Fianna Fáil justice spokesman was criticised at the time for writing the letter which was submitted as part of mitigation by Porter’s defence team.

Mr Collins later expressed regret and admitted that writing the letter had been a mistake after he was accused of trying to interfere with judicial independence.

The case was re-entered on Wednesday after Section 99 of the Criminal Justice Act was invoked last Friday when Porter pleaded guilty, at Nenagh District Court, to stealing two steel containers from a property in Newport in December 2014.

By law, Porter cannot be sentenced in relation to the theft matter until a decision is made in relation to the application to activate all or part of the suspended sentence.

When the matter was called this Wednesday, Rebecca Treacy BL said her client was prepared to deal with the matter.

However, she requested an adjournment of the application today saying Porter is a widowed father of four young children and he is trying to “sort out childcare”.

Having heard the application, Judge John Hannon will have to decide of the theft offence warrants the activation of all or part of the suspended sentence.

The defendant will then be sent back to Nenagh Court where he will be sentenced in relation to the theft offence.