SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR MAN CAUGHT WITH HEROIN AT MONAGHAN BUS STATION

13 May 2016 No Comments by The Northern Standard

A DONEGAL MAN found to have a bag of heroin — valued at €250 by gardai — in his sock when searched by a detective in Monaghan was given a three-month suspended sentence when the matter came before Monday’s sitting of Monaghan District Court.

Gerard Heapes (42) of 13 Mark House, Chapel Street, Stranorlar, Co Donegal pleaded guilty to one count of being in possession of the substance at the Bus Éireann depot, Monaghan on 25th April 2015.

Inspector Pat O’Connell said Detective Garda Emmet Ryan had been on duty when at 5.25pm on that date he attended the bus station at North Road, Monaghan where he encountered a male who was waiting on a bus for Donegal.

This man, who identified himself as Mr Heapes, appeared very nervous and Det Gda Ryan suspected he was in possession of controlled drugs. The garda conducted a search under the relevant provision of the Misuse of Drugs Act and found a small bag containing approximately €250 of heroin-diamorphine in one of his socks.

Mr Heapes admitted ownership of the substance for personal use, the inspector stated, before going on to outline 20 previous convictions the defendant had incurred.

These included one at a court in Dublin in January 2014, where he was fined €750 for having possession of drugs for sale or supply and had another charge of personal possession taken into consideration. He had a conviction for cultivation of cannabis plants handed down at Letterkenny District Court in May 2010, where another charge of being in possession was considered. Among his other previous were six for theft and another for being in possession of drugs.

Roisin Courtney, solr, said her client was claiming that the substance found on him on this occasion was worth €35 and not €250.

Insp O’Connell, however, insisted that the value given in the Garda records was €250.

“FIRST SLIP”

Ms Courtney said her client was looking on this as his “first slip” after being off heroin for 10 years, even though he would admit that he was continuing to take cannabis.

As far as the value went, he was saying that he was given this bag of heroin for €35, and that the gardai actually “did him a favour” by taking it off him after he stayed away from the substance for 10 years.

He was also saying that when Det Gda Ryan stopped him he held his hands up straight away and handed it over.

Her client was on disability benefit, had four grown-up children and had a number of health issues, Ms Courtney told the court.

As stated, Judge Denis McLoughlin imposed a three-month prison sentence but suspended this for 12 months in the defendant’s own bond of €100.

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