'Love/Hate' actor 'made a mess' of avoiding criminal record

Leroy Harris (right)

'Love/Hate' Leroy Harris actor “made a mess” of his chance at avoiding a criminal record and a possible sentence for supplying cannabis, a court heard today.

The young first-time offender, who suffered injuries in a gun attack last month, had been ordered ordered by Dublin District Court to engage with the Probation Services in a restorative justice programme.

The plan, if successfully completed, can lead to a defendant being spared a criminal record and any further punishment.

But today at Dublin District Court, Judge Michael Walsh was furnished with a negative report on the 20-year-old actor, who famously featured in the cat-killing scene in the hit RTÉ crime series.

The judge said he was adjourning the case for another report.

However, this time it will be on the suitability of Harris to carry out 150 hours' community service in lieu of of a six-month jail sentence, and he added that the defendant had himself to blame.

Today, the court heard that in his meetings with probation officers he did not show an understanding of the consequences of cannabis use on himself and “in a general societal sense”.

Defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins conceded that his client, who did not address the court, also went to another meeting during the restorative plan and “made a mess of that, too”.

The actor, who has recently returned to education to complete the Leaving Certificate, had pleaded guilty earlier to unlawful possession of cannabis worth €100, and having the drug for the purpose of sale or supply, at Sheriff Street, in north inner city Dublin, on October 14 last.

An earlier probation report, in February, had stated that Harris was at a low risk of re-offending but today, Judge Walsh said that the 20-year-old has a promising acting career and “now he is jeopardising that career”.

“Mr Harris can blame himself for that,” he added.

The young actor had been caught with two packets of cannabis, Dublin District Court had been told during an earlier hearing.

Harris had been searched in a premises by gardai after he had been spotted putting a suspected drugs package down his trousers. Defence solicitor Cahir O'Higgins had said the then 19-year-old had the cannabis for friends.

He had also told the court that Harris had taken up acting in Marino College when he was in his fifth year and has great potential for the future.

Mr O'Higgins had said previously in the case that Harris was very lucky “to secure a role in a very prominent drama on RTÉ” and this could open up doors for his acting career.

“A conviction might prejudice his capacity to travel,” the lawyer has submitted in pleas for leniency.

The court also heard that in his spare time Harris teaches acting to youngsters on a voluntary basis.

The budding actor, who has an address at from Mariner's Port, Dublin, featured in the latest season of the hit RTE drama 'Love/Hate'.

His role in the opening scene of the series was at the centre of a controversy for its graphic depiction of his on-screen character, Glen, filming his friend Wayne firing shots from an automatic weapon and killing a cat.

Previously he had earned a nomination for an award from the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) for his role in the RTE series 'Prosperity'.

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