Victim of drugs dupe says he felt ‘banished by locals’ in Limerick village

Fintan Walsh

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh

Victim of drugs dupe says he felt ‘banished by locals’ in Limerick village

Patrick Scanlon was sentenced to 11 years's imprisonment after he was convicted of importing cannabis worth €80,000

AN INNOCENT grandfather who was duped by a restaurateur into receiving €80,000 worth of cannabis at his home in 2013 has spoken of the devastation it has caused his family and how he felt “banished” from the community.

Stephen Quinn, from Churchview, Pallaskenry, spoke this week at a hearing in which Patrick Scanlon, aged 57, originally from Loughill West, was seeking to have the remainder of his 11-year prison term suspended.

“I don’t think anyone can understand the devastation he has put us through,” Mr Quinn told Judge James O’Donoghue this Monday.

Following an eight-day trial in May 2014, Scanlon was convicted of importing the drugs to Mr Quinn’s family home in 2013.

Scanlon was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment but this was later reduced to 11 years by the Court of Appeal which directed that a review take place half way through the sentence.

At a hearing in Limerick Circuit Court in June last, Judge O’Donoghue noted that the Probation Service had concerns that Scanlon would re-offend.

Mr Quinn delivered his victim impact statement from the stand, just a few feet from Scanlon, who wore a navy corduroy jacket, a blue tie and white shirt.

In 2013, Patrick Scanlon convinced Mr Quinn that a package containing “bits and bobs” from eBay was being sent to his Pallaskenry address for a failed restaurant venture in Askeaton.

During his trial, the court was told 4kg of cannabis was dropped at Malaga Airport on August 6 and arrived at Shannon Airport the following morning, having passed through DHL depots in Spain, Belgium and England.

The drugs were intercepted by Customs officers and were delivered to Mr Quinn’s home by a drugs unit detective posing as a DHL courier.

In an interview with the Limerick Leader after the hearing, Mr Quinn said that after his home was raided that night, he was arrested and questioned at Henry Street garda station. He was released without charge.

Lily Buckley BL, prosecuting, said to Mr Quinn this week: “The finger of suspicion continued to be pointed at you.”

He told the judge that there has been a “stigma” attached to him with a number of locals making “snide remarks” at him over the incident.

“Someone in the community said: ‘Was that package really for you?’ This is only about three or four weeks ago,” he told the Leader.

He told the judge that he “cannot trust” Scanlon, adding: “We have been left to pick up the pieces without any help from anyone.”

He told the Leader: “People who once called for a cup of tea, no longer called. It was like we were banished. No one would go near us.”

He said that the experience “mentally and physically, it nearly killed me”. 

“We want our closure. Yet, I would still be gutted if he walked away. Mentally and physically, I find it impossible to sleep. It’s all because of this.”

At a hearing on Monday morning, Det Gda David Baynham, of Henry Street garda station, said there was “concern” expressed over Scanlon’s behaviour at Loughan House in Cavan when he was ordered to desist from “building a wall and cutting a fence” by the governor.

Andrew Sexton SC, defending, said his client was building a “meditation garden”.

Det Gda Baynham said that was “new information” to him. At the hearing in June, Daniel Scanlon—Patrick’s brother—said he could live at the family home if released and he told the court a hotel in North Kerry was willing to offer his brother a job as a barman and waiter.

However, it emerged in court this week, Daniel Scanlon — a farmer — has since appeared before the court charged with a criminal offence.

When Daniel Scanlon took the stand, he was asked what Patrick Scanlon’s position would be if he were no longer at the house “for a period of time”.

Mr Scanlon said his brother would remain in the house and he could work on the farm if he was not working at the hotel.

Det Gda Baynham told the court that Daniel Scanlon lost a IR£30,000 surety after Patrick Scanlon breached terms of bail for a previous offence.

The garda told the court that he would “be at a loss again”. However, Mr Scanlon said: “He is my brother, and I am hopeful he deserves another chance.” He said that he is hopeful that his brother seeks help following his prison sentence.

Judge O’Donoghue said he will have to consider Mr Quinn’s victim impact statement, and called for a governor’s report and an updated probation report.