Judge Bernadette Owens has ordered a probation report in the hope that it would benefit a heroin addict who appeared before her at Longford District Court.
Adrian McGarry, with addresses at 41 River Oaks, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon and Stonepark, Longford, came before the courts with a number of charges, including a section 15 possession of drugs for sale or supply, which was struck out, and a possession charge to which he pleaded guilty.
Garda Karl Foley, in evidence, told the court that on July 28, 2020 at 6.20pm, gardaí received reports of a vehicle acting suspiciously in the carpark of a Longford town supermarket.
“We were close to the scene so myself and Gda Maher went to the scene and observed the vehicle,” he said.
“I observed one of the suspects - not the accused - in the carpark with his head inside the passenger door. He saw gardaí coming, threw something into the car and ran away.”
Gda Foley gave chase, caught up to the man and searched him before returning his attention to the vehicle.
“The rear passenger door was open and the accused was in the rear seat, shuffling and acting in a suspicious manner,” said Gda Foley.
“I observed tin foil with a burned brown substance and carried out a search of him and the vehicle. I found 11 separate deals of suspected heroin, which is a brown powder. There were two further deals in the front of the vehicle.”
Mr McGarry admitted the items were “gear” and that they belonged to him. The original suspect had left the scene and Mr McGarry and another accused remained.
Both were arrested at 6.30pm and conveyed to Longford Garda Station where they were detained.
During the course of interview, a number of exhibits were put to Mr McGarry who admitted the substances were his. Directions were received to charge him.
“What we have discovered is that he had bought a number of deals of heroin for his own use,” said Gda Foley.
“There are two types of heroin - one for smoking and one for injecting. We discovered during the course of interview that he does not inject, he smokes. The heroin he bought was not for him and he tried to offload it.”
The court heard that Mr McGarry has nine previous convictions but none for drugs offences.
His solicitor, Michael Finucane, explained that his client is a father of six children - some of whom are very young and all from the same relationship of the last ten years.
“He’s a heroin addict and has been struggling with addiction for some years. He receives support from his family. His father incurred considerable expense to try and get him to residential treatment,” said Mr Finucane.
“Attempts are being made to enrol him in a methadone programme to stabilise his addiction. There have been failures and probably will be failures into the future. He and his partner are trying to obtain local authority housing to provide a solid foundation for their children.”
“This is his first time to come before the court in relation to drug matters,” said Judge Bernadette Owens.
“Clearly he is not at a point where he has his issues under control but he is attempting to engage with the help of his family. Might a probation report be of assistance?” she asked.
Mr Finucane replied that this would be “an option worth exploring”.
“Ordinarily when somebody comes before court with a first drug matter, albeit the amount was beyond what we consider to be the low end of the scale, I think you’d benefit from the probation service.
“It will be down to you. The resolution of this for you and your very young family is within your own control. I know it’s not easy but I am going to direct a probation report,” said Judge Owens.
Mr McGarry was remanded on continuing bail until February 22, 2022. Charges for no insurance, no licence and a summons for a breach of Covid restrictions have also been adjourned to that date.
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