A CHRONIC alcoholic who was pressured by criminal elements to store significant quantities of cannabis at his home has avoided an immediate prison sentence.
Daniel O’Neill, 47, of Castle Close, Old Cratloe Road had pleaded guilty to possession of 472 gramms of the drug for the purpose of sale or supply.
During a sentencing hearing in February, Sergeant Damien Kennedy said the drugs, which had an estimated street value of almost €9,500, were seized when the defendant’s home was searched May 2, 2016.
Various paraphernalia associated with drug-dealing were also found during the search,
Mr O’Neill, he said, made admissions telling gardai he had been put under pressure to store the drugs.
Eimear Carey BL told Limerick Circuit Court her client, who had the drugs for about a week, is a vulnerable person who was genuinely in fear.
“He is a chronic alcoholic, he was seen as a soft target by sinister elements in the community,” she said, adding her client had cooperated fully with gardai and is attempting to deal with his alcohol addiction.
She urged the court to note his admissions and his guilty plea and she submitted the value of the drugs was not the highest.
Imposing sentence, Judge Tom O’Donnell noted the separated father-of-three had been put under pressure to act as a storeman and that threats were made that his home would be damaged if he did not cooperate.
”He was an easy target who was prevailed upon to hold these items,” he said.
He said the defendant’s personal circumstances – including the impact of his alcohol addiction were matters he had to consider.
Mr O’Neill, who has five previous convictions, has made efforts to rehabilitate himself and is in further education with a view to securing employment.
Judge O’Donnell imposed a two year prison sentence which he suspended in its entirety for two years.
Mr O’Neill was ordered to continue his engagement with the Probation Service as a condition of the suspension.