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Carlow Nationalist — Man jailed for heroin possession becomes abusive in court

David O’Sullivan

A man jailed after being caught with his fingerprints on a shopping bag containing heroin accused his barristers of collaborating with gardaí to get him to enter a guilty plea.

When the sentence was imposed, Sean Mooney (40) of Barry Park, Finglas, Dublin 11, accused his defence counsel of collaborating with gardaí.

He said he’d only entered a guilty plea because he was advised to.

He became agitated and abusive to people in the courtroom, before attempting to leave the dock. At this point, he was stopped by prison officers and removed from court.

Mooney and John Brown (38), of Barry Drive, Finglas appeared before Judge Martina Baxter in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Monday having pleaded guilty to possessing drugs with the intent to sell or supply on August 17th 2016.

Garda Garry Brennan told Garrett McCormack BL, prosecuting, that gardaí had conducted a search of a property on Barry Drive, Finglas in 2016.

Gardai arrived at the property and searched the premises. At the back of the house, they found a shed containing drugs.

Brown’s fingerprints were found at various locations throughout the house, including on two bags of drugs in the shed. One bag contained 122.9g of heroin with a street value of €17,206 and another with a kilo of cannabis with a market value of €20,000.

The shed also contained a Lidl shopping bag where Mooney’s fingerprints could be found. The bag contained 27g of heroin with a value of €3,780.

The two men were arrested and entered guilty pleas on a trial date.

The property where the drugs were found belonged to a third man who has already appeared before the courts.

Garret Baker SC, defence counsel for Mooney, said the offence was seven and a half years old and that his client has since made “significant steps in the right direction.”

He said his client plays an active role in taking care of his children and is also the carer for his father, who is showing early signs of dementia.

Mr Baker said Mooney is currently employed and has had no recent convictions for sale or supply of drugs.

Kathleen Leader SC, defending Brown, said her client was involved in local youth groups “to help other young people use their energy into something other than illegal activities.”

She said her client wishes to express his apologies to the court and is ashamed of the hurt he has caused his family.

“He feels he has let himself down, both himself and his family,” she said, “His apology and his shame at being before the court are significant indicators of remorse.”

Mooney has 34 previous convictions for misuse of drugs, assault causing harm, handling stolen property, road traffic, public order, failure to appear and possession of an article.

Brown has 13 previous convictions for public order, road traffic, burglary and misuse of drugs.

In sentencing, Judge Baxter said: “These are offences that are unacceptable and I have to have regard to the public good in regard to the nature of the offending.”

She said aggravating factors included the value of the drugs, the relevant previous convictions and the “scourge of drug dealing” and the fact that communities are “devastated daily by these activities.”

Mitigating factors included that the men had made a “valuable plea, but not the earliest”, the judge noted. Judge Baxter also notedthat Brown was well-regarded in his community and that Mooney has work prospects.

Mooney was sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment, but Judge Baxter suspended the final 12 months on strict conditions.

She sentenced Brown to four years’ imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months.

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