Man caught ‘red handed’ with drugs gets bail at Longford District Court

Strict Bail: Man accused of drug dealing must keep account of visitors to his home

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Man caught ‘red handed’ with drugs gets bail at Longford District Court

A man charged with possession of drugs and public order offences has “just about made bail” following a special sitting of Longford District Court last Wednesday afternoon.

On March 27, 2021, two gardaí from Granard Garda station observed Thomas Leonavicius of Top Flat, Longford Motors, Strokestown Road, Longford, with a quantity of controlled drugs at Townspark, Longford, at 11.15am.

Gda Padraig McConnell of Granard Garda Station explained that, during arrest, Mr Leonavicius resisted and a struggle ensued, which resulted in Gda Brendan Lynn being injured. Gda Lynn is currently off duty.

Gda McConnell added that gardaí were objecting to bail due to the seriousness and nature of the charges, which include two counts of possession of cannabis and amphetamines, and one charge of resisting arrest.

The court heard that the accused had five previous convictions under section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, with two charges under section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act currently before the Circuit Court.

The section 3 charges carry a sentence of up to 12 months in prison, Gda McConnell explained, while the section 15 charges carry up to seven years in prison.

“On the date of arrest, he was found with a quantity of what I believe to be controlled drugs,” said Gda McConnell.

“He did his best to get rid of the drugs and threw them away but they were collected. He also tried to get rid of an electronic device that we believe would have information into drug deals.

“He was consumed with getting away and getting rid of what he was in possesion of. One member, Gda Lynn, was injured and is currently out sick,” he added.

“He (the accused) is a self-confessed drug addict and, when arrested, he gave an address which I suspected he no longer stayed at. We confirmed that he was evicted from that address.

“The belief of gardaí is that, if he is released, there’s a good possibility that he’ll fail to answer bail conditions, which he has done on two previous occasions in 2017.

“We have no doubt he’ll continue in his previous mode of activity, which is, in my view, selling controlled drugs, which I believe he’s been doing for years.

“My work would involve inquiries around drugs. I would be aware that this man is a prominent player.”

Solicitor for the defence, Tony McLynn explained that his client has a 12-year-old daughter, and has been living in the country for ten years, holding down a job in a meat factory for a number of years when he first arrived.

“He hasn’t worked for the last four years because he has a disability - he injured his arm,” said Mr McLynn.

“I don’t know, now, he didn’t show much disability when we met him,” said Gda McConnell.

When asked about the drugs that were seized, Gda McConnell said that gardaí were still awaiting analysis.

“So there’s very little evidence to suggest that he was in possession of controlled drugs,” said Mr McLynn.

“During interview, he admitted that the items found were controlled substances. He said cannabis and amphetamines,” said Gda McConnell.

“But he acknowledged they were for personal use only,” said Mr McLynn.

“Yes,” Gda McConnell agreed, “he didn’t admit they were for sale.”

The estimated street value of the substances seized is €200 to €250, the court heard.

“At this stage, Mr Leonavicius has very little to lose. There are a number of different cases racing to the finish line and it won’t be long before he has to face the final hurdle and he might now show up to court,” said Gda McConnell.

Summing up the case of the prosecution, Sgt Enda Daly said that Mr Leonavicius was “caught redhanded” in the act and has a number of previous for similar offences.

“Should he be granted bail, the concern is that he will continue,” he said.

Judge Kevin Kilrane noted the previous convictions for similar offences and that there was a concern he would leave the jurisdiction or simply not turn up for court.

“He’s in the country for 10 years and has a 12-year-old daughter and, while I don’t know what his relationship with his daughter is like, he has probably lost his connection with Lithuania,” said Judge Kilrane.

“He has every incentive to leave the jurisdiction and flee. He also has two past warrants but other than that, he has attended every court date. I don’t think there is any fear of him leaving the jurisdiction.

“He is on bail for two section 15 charges already. I don’t know if there were any conditions of bail or outstanding matters that he’s on bail conditions for involving drugs.

“It would go without saying that if there is not such a condition that it would be considered misconduct.

“The accused is involved in drug dealing in relation to a small amount - €250 worth. He probably has engaged in the sale of drugs. The guard says he is a major player but we don’t really have evidence of that,” he added.

“I rather reluctantly am prepared to grant bail but on strict conditions.”

Bail conditions include a curfew from 10pm to 9am, that Mr Leonavicius reside at Top Flat, Longford Motors, Strokestown Road, Longford, that he provide a telephone number to gardaí and remain contactable 24 hours a day.

He has also been warned to have no involvement of any kind with illegal drugs - “no possession, and nothing in your apartment,” said Judge Kilrane.

“You’re to keep a daily record of visitors to your apartment every day - write down who has visited and what time,” he added.

“You are also to hand over your phone on request to gardaí on inspection.”

Finally, Mr Leonavicius is to sign on at Longford Garda Station daily between 9am and 9pm.

“He just about made bail. If there are any allegations of breaches of bail again, even if it’s a in a minor way, gardaí can re-enter,” said Judge Kilrane.