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Judge Patrick Durcan

Drug dealing to pay off wedding loan

A MAN who took up drug-dealing in an attempt to pay off a loan he incurred prior to his wedding, appeared before Ennis District Court last week.

Laimis Klemankas, 25, with an address at 3 Gleann an Óir, Shannon, admitted charges of having possession of drugs and of possession with intent to sell or supply, at his address on September 12 last.

The court heard that, on the date in question, cannabis valued at €818.46 and amphetamine, valued at €282.44, were found during a search at the address, along with some drug paraphernalia including a tick list, weighing scales and some cash.

Mr Klemankas’ solicitor, Stiofán Fitzpatrick, said his client is Lithuanian and has been in Ireland for seven years. He has never been in trouble, either here or in his home country.

He said Mr Klemankas had smoked cannabis for a period of time but gave it up because it gave him heart palpitations.
Mr Fitzpatrick also said that while the defendant had worked as a general operative in a Shannon factory, he had to give it up due to health issues.

The defendant was said to have taken out a loan to get married but fell into arrears and got involved in drug-dealing as he tried to get on top of his financial difficulties.

He said the defendant is facing very severe terms regarding repayment of the loan and is still trying to deal with it.
Regarding the sale of the drugs, Mr Fitzpatrick said he had only been doing it for a short period of time and his wife hadn’t been aware of it. “She rightly feels that he breached her trust,” he added.

Judge Patrick Durcan said, historically, Irish people have been welcomed all over the world and that Ireland should welcome newcomers but that the defendant had shown “a level of selfishness and disregard to the people who gave him a welcome”.

He noted that the defendant had sampled drugs but gave them up when they damaged his own health.

On the positive side, he said the defendant had to be commended for the honesty around the explanation being offered.
He said that there were two options open to him, one to impose a six-month sentence, which would cost the State in excess of €50,000, or to give the defendant community work.

When the defendant confirmed to the court that he would be willing to undertake community work, Judge Durcan indicated that he had 240 hours in total in mind.

The matter was adjourned until May 20 for a probation report.

By Owen Ryan

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