Man who claimed be coming from Leaving Cert party jailed for having €150,000 of drugs

ireland
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Declan Brennan

A man who was 18 years old when gardaí caught him holding cocaine and MDMA with an estimated street value of nearly €150,000 has been jailed.

Ben Murphy, now aged 20, initially told gardaí that he was coming back from an all-night party to celebrate his Leaving Cert results. Garda John Griffin told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that Murphy appeared nervous and gardai became suspicious and carried out a drugs search.

Murphy was holding a bag of cocaine in his closed fist and gardaí also found packages of cocaine hidden down his trousers. He tried to run off but gardaí grabbed him and arrested him.

A follow up search of his home at Rowlagh Ave., Clondalkin uncovered MDMA powder hidden in a glass reptile tank in his bedroom. They also found a plastic container, a spoon and bagging.

Michael Hourigan BL, prosecuting, told the court that the MDMA has an estimated street value of €97,000 and while the cocaine was valued at €48,000.

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Murphy pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of the drugs on August 16th 2018. He has no previous convictions and told gardai he was put under pressure to hold the drugs.

He told them that he feared there would be repercussions if he named the people who owned the drugs and Gda Griffin agreed with Michael Bowman SC, defending, that it was more likely Murphy was just holding the drugs for others.

The court heard Murphy comes from a decent family who are devastated by his crimes. References handed into court described him as having made a series of poor decisions when he was in his late teens.

Mr Bowman said his client was previously a promising footballer. He said he had matured since committing these crimes and had become involved as a leader in youth sports in the local area.

While on bail awaiting sentence he also got a job but lost that due to the Covid 19 pandemic. He asked the court to take into consideration the “impetuosity of youth”.

Judge Pauline Codd said that Murphy had become involved with a group of people and that he now regrets how stupid his actions were. She noted his sense of remorse and shame for letting his family down.

She said he is amenable to rehabilitation but that the value of the drugs meant a prison term was necessary. She suspended the final four and a half years of a six year term and said she was having regard particularly to his age.

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