23 May 2022

North Longford man on drugs charge to escape jail term

Longford Courthouse.

A north Longford man caught possessing cannabis following a search of his home in Aughnacliffe almost two years ago is to be spared a custodial sentence, a court was told last week

A father of one who was caught by gardaí possessing cannabis during a search of his house in north Longford almost two years ago looks set to be spared a jail sentence.

Judge Keenan Johnson told Daniel Kiernan (34) Cornadrung, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford last week of his intention to issue him with Section 1 (2) of the Probation Act arising out of an incident at his home on August 22, 2020.

Garda Donal McDermott told last week's sitting of Longford Circuit Criminal Court said when gardaí carried out a search of Mr Kiernan's home on the date in question.

He said when officers knocked on the door, Mr Kiernan answered and swiftly admitted to possessing the drugs for his own use.
He said two plastic containers containing cannabis herb were also found as part of the search.

It was revealed initial inquiries had put the estimated find at over €20,000 with the court being told that value was in reality just over €5,000.

Shane Geraghty, BL for the State, said Mr Kiernan was cooperative with gardaí during a follow up interview where he gave them detailed insights as to his personal background.

During that exchange, Mr Kiernan said he had spent much of his early childhood in England before moving back to Ireland.

The court heard how Mr Kiernan had attended Griffith College in Dublin for a time but, by his own admission “failed miserably” and turned to a career in sales as a result.

The father of a 13-year-old daughter, Mr Kiernan was involved in a car accident a number of years ago and sustained ongoing pain in his lower back as a consequence.

It was revealed the north Longford man had turned to cannabis to try and ease those afflictions, smoking an average of “15 to 20 joints a day”.

Shane Geraghty BL, for the prosecution, said Mr Kiernan told investigators he had been growing cannabis since February.

“He had no help growing it and looked it up on the internet,” said Mr Geraghty, adding ten plants in total were found inside.

Asked to account for the drugs, Mr Kiernan told gardaí: “I am sorry for wasting garda time.

“It was illegal and wrong.”

Garda McDermott said he was satisfied Mr Kiernan was not involved in the sale or supply of drugs when questioned by Judge Johnson.

A probation report handed into the court was also described as being “very positive” with testimonials from Mr Kiernan's mother, employer and two radio stations from where the accused volunteers were similarly handed in.

His defence counsel said the breakdown of his parents marriage had impacted him but was now looking to further his education by completing a music course.

She said Mr Kiernan knew it was wrong to turn to cannabis but was reluctant to continue with opiod medication in the aftermath of the injuries he sustained in the aforementioned road traffic accident.

In summation, Judge Johnson described the sum total of drugs found as “reasonably significant”, hinting that had the true value of its total come to light sooner the district court would arguably have been a more suitable venue for its airing.

In mitigation, he noted Mr Kiernan's early guilty plea and expressions of remorse.

He said he was further heartened by the accused man's healthy work ethic and as such, was at pains to provide Mr Kiernan with a path towards reconstitution.

Judge Johnson adjourned sentencing to October 11 and directed Mr Kiernan to remain drug free.

A urine analyis one month before the adjourned date was also directed, leading Judge Johnson to state that should those results come back clear, the court would likely impose Section 1 (2) of the Probation Act.

“The reason for the degree of leniency is because he was not involved in the sale of drugs and that they were for his own personal use,” added the judge.

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