Longford District Court: It was a terrible mistake', Judge is told

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Longford District Court

Longford District Court

A man who pleaded guilty to possessing €10 worth of cocaine after gardaí carried out a search of a vehicle in Longford has admitted it was a “terrible mistake” and one he doesn’t intend on repeating.

Ethan French, of 35 An Drinan, Ballymahon, Longford, was arrested and subsequently charged when gardaí stopped a vehicle at Richmond Street, Longford, on September 18 2016.


The court was told when officers undertook a search of Mr French, who was a rear seat passenger in the car, a “white powdery” substance was detected in a zip up bag.


Judge Conal Gibbons, presiding, heard that the accused admitted ownership of the item which was later confirmed as being cocaine.
Defence solicitor Frank Gearty said Mr French’s culpability, while unambiguous, was very much out of character with his present state of mind.


“He is now working in the UK and earning good money each week,” said Mr Gearty, as he revealed Mr French’s employer had travelled to court in support of the 28-year-old.


An expert in dust filtration by trade, Mr French had since got his “act together”, Mr Gearty, added.


Addressing the judge himself, Mr French said he was very much single-minded over how he intended living his life from now on.
“I don’t need any more courts,” he told the judge.
“It’s definitely out of my system.”


Judge Gibbons said, despite those claims, Mr French was skirting dangerously close to receiving a custodial sentence.
“In terms of narcotics, it’s (cocaine) a very serious substance to be in possession of,” he said.


Mr Gearty, in response, said Mr French was now focused on his career and was subject to random breath tests due to the nature of his work.
Mr French, appearing contrite and sincere throughout, said the September 2016 episode was “a terrible mistake on my behalf.”


At that stage in proceedings, his employer stepped forward and told Judge Gibbons that not alone was Mr French a “very good employee” but he had also been recently promoted to a supervisory role with the company.


It was a testimony which clearly struck a chord with Judge Gibbons.
“It’s very impressive that his (Mr French’s) employer came in and obviously they think highly of their employee,” he said.


He subsequently fined Mr French €500, giving him six months to pay.