Suspended sentence at Limerick court for chef who had drugs in boot of car

DRUG DEBT:  FATHER-OF-FIVE OWED €2,500

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Suspended sentence at Limerick court for chef who had drugs in boot of car

Limerick Circuit Court heard he defendant was under observation when gardai witnessed the hand-over of the drugs

A FATHER-of-five who agreed to store around €10,000 worth of cannabis in order to reduce a drug debt he owed, has avoided a prison sentence.

Michael Dawson, aged 36, of Elton Court, Meelick, pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply on October 22, 2013.

Detective Garda Padraic Quirke of the divisional drugs unit told Limerick Circuit Court the defendant was under observation when gardai witnessed the hand-over of the drugs in the car park of a fast-food restaurant.

Around 500 grams of cannabis was found in the boot of Dawson’s car when it was searched at a filling station on the Ennis Road a short time later.

Judge Tom O’Donnell was told a further small quantity of cannabis and a weighing scales were found during a follow-up search of the defendant’s home.

During interview, Dawson told gardai he had received a phone call earlier in the day and was told where to retrieve the package.  He admitted he had intended bringing the drugs home to await further instructions as to where to bring them.

Det Garda Quirke said the owners of the drugs had agreed to reduce a debt he owed by €250.

Pat Barriscale said his client – a qualified chef – had lost his job a number of months earlier which caused severe financial strain. He said Dawson travelled to the UK following the seizure as his life was under threat.

He said client’s car was taken as “part payment” by the owners of the drugs and that he has not come to the attention of gardai since.

Imposing sentence, Judge O’Donnell noted the defendant, who is unemployed, represents a low risk of reoffending and that there was an element of duress” in the background

He said the the quantity of drugs seized was an aggravating factor as was the fact that he absconded.

He imposed a three and-a-half year prison sentence, which he suspended in its entirety.