Judge Seamus Hughes
A heroin addict with over 100 previous convictions who was found injecting a substance into his arm in the toilets of Longford Train Station has been sentenced to six months in jail by Judge Seamus Hughes.
Stephen Conlon, of no fixed abode, was handed the sentence at last week’s sitting of Longford District Court after being arrested the previous weekend in relation to outstanding bench warrants which were out for his arrest. Mr Conlon’s solicitor Fiona Baxter indicated from the outset of her client’s desire to plead guilty to the charges which were before the court.
Sgt Mark Mahon started the State’s case by outlining the background to a Section 4 charge of being intoxicated in a public place at Longford Train Station on November 6 2019. On that occasion, he said Garda Karl Foley had been responding to reports that a man had been seen appearing to inject a substance into his arm in the toilets area of the station.
Sgt Mark Mahon said Garda Foley knew Mr Conlon to be a heroin user and arrested him for his own safety. A little over two weeks later at 4:15pm Sgt Mahon said gardaí were again alerted to a male in an intoxicated state, this time along the St Joseph’s road area of Longford town. Sgt Mahon said when gardaí arrived, they found the accused in an incoherent state with slurred speech.
A follow up search of Mr Conlon under the Misuse of Drugs Act uncovered a syringe containing a substance which was later found to be heroin. Following his arrest and transferral to Longford Garda Station, a grinder was also uncovered on Mr Conlon which contained a small quantity of cannabis.
In the aftermath of that testimony, Sgt Mahon revealed Mr Conlon had 119 previous convictions to his name, 41 of which were for public order.
In reference to Mr Conlon’s background, Judge Hughes asked him: “You were up here to get drugs weren’t you?”
Mr Conlon replied: “Kind of, yeah.
“I know a lot of people here and would have known them over the last ten to 15 years.”
After indicating he had relapsed at the time of his visit to Longford, Mr Conlon was pressed about his take on the state of Longford’s narcotics trade.
“It’s a good place to get drugs is it?” Judge Hughes asked.
“I wouldn’t say good,” came the reply from the father of two.
In defence, Ms Baxter said she had been informed by her client of Mr Conlon’s ongoing consultations with an addiction counsellor and regular submissions of urine analysis to his own GP.
Judge Hughes was unforgiving in his appraisal of Mr Conlon’s ongoing addiction battles, warning him: “Your not going to survive and will have an early death.”
Mr Conlon stood impassively in the custody area of the court and nodded his head while replying: “Your not the first person to say that to me your Honour.”
Prior to passing sentence, Ms Baxter suggested a probation report might prove beneficial to the court given Mr Conlon’s continued efforts to steer clear of drugs. She also insisted the reason bench warrants had been outstanding for his arrest was due to the fact Mr Conlon had no fewer than six scheduled hospital appointments over the past couple of weeks.
In relation to one of the warrants dating back to December 17 2019, Judge Hughes sentenced Mr Conlon to six months in prison with a three month concurrent sentence imposed for a similar Section 13 bench warrant seven days earlier. A three month concurrent sentence was also issued for the possession of a syringe charge.
Both the Section 4 of being intoxicated in a public place and Section 3 cannabis possession charge were taken into consideration. Ms Baxter asked Judge Hughes to fix recognisances in the event of an appeal.