By Brion Hoban
A man became involved with the transportation of heroin as a “solution” for his financial problems caused by the “pressures” the pandemic has created for family finances, a judge has said.
John Saul (37), also known as John Keegan, took a bag of heroin from his underwear and handed it over to gardaí after being stopped while he was in the middle of delivering the drugs.
Saul of Slievenamon Road, Drimnagh, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of heroin for sale or supply at a location within Dublin on November 8, 2020.
He has 15 previous convictions, including convictions for possession of drugs for sale or supply, assault, burglary and theft. The court heard the most recent of these convictions dates back to 2010.
Passing sentence today/yesterday (THURS), Judge Melanie Greally said Saul made “a very serious error” getting involved in this offending which “could have cost him his liberty”.
Judge Greally said the offence coincided with a period of financial hardship and the “pressures” the pandemic has created for family finances. She said the accused displayed a “very poor lack of judgement” in getting involved in the offending as a “solution” for his financial problems.
She noted that he had managed to achieve some stability in life and said she is not going to “pull the plug” in terms of the progress he has made.
Judge Greally sentenced Saul to 18 months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence in its entirety on strict conditions.
During the sentencing hearing, Garda Michael Muldoon told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, he followed a car being driven by the accused and eventually signalled for him to pull over.
Gda Muldoon said that as gardaí approached, Saul appeared to stuff something inside his trousers and gardaí decided to search him. After being brought to a garda station, he produced a bag of heroin from his underwear and handed it over to gardaí.
The total value of the heroin was €3,402.
Gda Muldoon agreed with Simon Matthews BL, defending, that in interview with gardaí, his client denied selling drugs, but admitted he was caught in the middle of delivering the drugs in question and was to be rewarded with €200.
The garda agreed with counsel that his client’s previous convictions occurred when he was between the ages of 18 and 25. He agreed that Saul has worked throughout the long gap in his offending and has not come to garda attention since this incident.
He agreed that gardaí accepted Saul was “a simple courier” and was making no financial gain aside from a small reward.