A SENTENCING judge in a cocaine-dealing case described drugs as the underlying virus infecting society.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said today it was to be hoped that the Coronavirus restrictions might cut off the opportunities for drug dealers to circulate drugs in society.
“And if it does, it would be some small silver lining to this Coronavirus shutdown,” Judge O’Callaghan said at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
The judge imposed a four-year prison sentence with the last 18 months suspended on 27-year-old Roy Carroll, with an address at Farranferris Park, Farranree, Cork.
The Cork man who had been a promising young boxer ran from drug squad gardaí with an €8,700 pack of cocaine when he was stopped at the M8 toll plaza on at Watergrasshill, County Cork, on January 10 2018.
Paula McCarthy, defence barrister, said Roy Carroll viewed his own actions as stupid when he ran away from gardaí on the day and was remorseful for doing so.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan said, “The court must look at the aggravating factors, the type of drug involved, the fact that it was hidden, the value of it, the attempt to dispose of the drugs, the fact that this offence occurred a short time after this man was put on a bond with a suspended sentence.
“He did surrender himself two days later, following a visit by An Garda Síochána to his home.
"Where he continues to deny being in possession of the drugs he accepts the verdict of the jury.”
Detective Garda Liam Finn testified today Carroll had been required to stand with his hands on the roof of the car with the driver when gardaí searched the car at around 9.30pm on January 10, 2018, but that the driver shouted ‘Run’.
Roy Carroll ran up the overgrown embankment at the side of the plaza on the Cork/Dublin motorway despite an effort by a chasing guard to tackle him.
A second attempt was made to catch him as he clambered over a fence at the top of the embankment but he got away.
Det. Garda Finn testified today that Roy Carroll ran across the field and refused to stop for gardaí and he was seen dropping a packet.
This was later recovered and found to contain cocaine with just over €8,700 worth of the drug.
Ms McCarthy BL said that the driver of the car was sentenced to three years with the last months suspended for his part in the same incident.
The co-accused was also convicted of having cocaine for sale or supply and obstructing gardaí in the course of a drugs search.
However, Judge O’Callaghan said that Carroll had contested the drug-dealing charge where in fact he had acted in a pre-meditated fashion rather than acting out of any panic.
The judge noted that in a preliminary search at the scene the packet of drugs on his person was not discovered.
“Mr Carroll forced himself from the clasp of the following guard, released himself, kept running and discarded the drugs with the clear intention of avoiding detection,” the judge said.
Judge O’Callaghan said Carroll’s position at trial was that he obstructed the search by running away but that he never had the cocaine.
Judge O’Callaghan said that the jury was not impressed with this position and that neither was he, as the judge.
Even though Carroll was not the driver, Judge O’Callaghan said the car was used by Carroll to carry out the crime so a four-year driving disqualification was also being imposed.