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06 Oct 2022

Court poor box payment will spare Longford man found with €1,300 worth of drugs from conviction, court hears

Longford Courthouse.

Longford Courthouse

A defendant charged with possession of €1,300 worth of cannabis was told he can avoid a drugs conviction if he makes a payment of €800 to the court poor box.

Carl Skelly (28) was before Longford District Court on charges of possessing cannabis and cocaine.

Sgt Enda Daly told the judge that on October 21 2020 at 6:45pm members of the Garda Divisional Drugs Unit executed a search warrant of the defendant's home address at 22 Thomond Lodge, Ballymahon.

The officers found cannabis to the value of €1,300 and cocaine valued at €35. Sgt Daly told the court the defendant had a number of previous convictions for minor road traffic matters, but none for drugs offences.

Counsel for the defendant, Andrea Callen BL, pointed out that her client cooperated fully with the Gardai. The barrister said the defendant was working in a hotel at the time. Ms Callen said Mr Skelly worked with a number of people in their 30s and he would purchase cannabis for the group.

She said he realises this was a “stupid thing” to do and has not engaged in drugs since he was caught. Ms Callen said her client now works in a meat factory and has settled down since the birth of his children.

The defendant has two children, aged 18 months and six weeks. The barrister said this incident was “a big wake up call”. Ms Callen told the court her client was very anxious to have the matter concluded. She asked the judge if their was any possibility the matter could be dealt with by way of a donation to the court poor box, allowing Skelly to avoid a criminal conviction for a drugs offence.

Judge Bernadette Owens asked Sgt Daly if the defendant has come to Garda attention since the October 2020 offence or if any paraphernalia associated with the dealing of drugs were found in the raid. Sg Daly said there was no mention of any paraphernalia and agreed that Skelly has not come to Garda attention since.

Judge Owens said she would give the defendant credit for his early plea, his co-operation and give him an opportunity to pay €800 to the court poor box to avoid a drugs conviction.

The defendant was remanded on continuing bail to September 27 to make the €800 payment.

The judge also issued a destruction order for he drugs.

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