A CIRCUIT Court judge has commented that the use of a 15-year-old for running drugs “paints a very sad picture of what our society has degenerated to”.
Judge Gerald Keys was commenting in the case of a 18-year-old, who pleaded guilty to the possession of cannabis for sale or supply at an Ennis halting site on March 12, 2012.
Giving evidence at Ennis Circuit Criminal Court, Detective Garda Gary Stack outlined that gardaí were conducting a surveillance operation of a halting site on March 12, 2012. At 8.05pm, he said he observed the accused leaving the rear of the halting site and going to meet a man in a car. He collected a package and he said gardaí moved in to apprehend him.
“He dropped the pack in a field and fled. He re-emerged from his house later and he was arrested,” Detective Stack said.
He explained that the package that he dropped was a Ben 10 toy box and it was found to contain €12,892 worth of drugs.
After his arrest, Detective Stack said the accused denied being in the field and said he had only left the halting site once that day to go to the shop. He denied receiving any package and any knowledge of its contents.
The person who gave the teenager the box of drugs was identified and dealt with separately in the courts. Judge Keys was told that this man, who was in his late 30s, received two years in prison for his part in the crime.
Detective Stack highlighted that the teenager was “merely the runner” in this.
Defence counsel for the teenager, Mark Nicholas (BL) said this was “an act of gross stupidity” on his client’s part.
Commenting on the case, Judge Keys said, “That a 15 and a half year old would be used as a runner paints a very sad picture of what our society has degenerated to. I accept that he is not involved in drugs and was only a runner at 15 and a half… I’m conscious that a man twice this accused’s age is engaged in using young people in running drugs.”
He then adjourned the case for 18 months for the teenaged accused to continue to engage with the Probation Services and ordered that he continue to comply with all their conditions and directions.
Judge Keys warned that if the accused fails to comply or comes to the attention of the gardaí, in particular in respect of any drugs-related matters, it must come back before the courts and a custodial sentence would be imposed.
He also made an order for the destruction of the drugs.
By Carol Byrne