A JUDGE has said young professionals are funding “a murderous business” in buying cocaine after dealing with a string of cases in which he handed a jail term to a pharmacist and fined both an inter-county footballer and a law graduate.
Judge James McNulty made his comments at Clonakilty District Court, where he also handed a jail sentence to another man who had been convicted of having the equivalent of 100 lines of cocaine in 10 bags hidden in two socks for sale or supply.
All the cases involved locations in Kinsale during the weekend of last year’s Kinsale Rugby Sevens event. Three cases of possessing cocaine took place in and around the event itself at Snugmore in the town.
Thomas Bambrick, a 24-year-old carpenter who has also played Gaelic football for Laois, was convicted and fined €1,000 for possession of cocaine worth €80 when he was searched at 4.50pm on May 5 last while attending the Kinsale Rugby Sevens event.
Mr Bambrick, of Graigue, Mountmellick in Co Laois, had no previous convictions and his solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, said his client wanted to avoid a conviction.
Judge McNulty reiterated the points he made last week when dealing with a number of similar cases arising from the same event, stressing that the courts had to administer the law and repeating that possession of cocaine is “not a trivial offence”.
“If he and his peers choose to buy cocaine for their amusement, they are supporting what is literally a murderous business,” Judge McNulty said.
"They are contributing to the profits of dangerous men who will mind their patch, collect their debts, and grow their profits by doing anything that needs to be done. That is what they are supporting."
Sean O’Leary, a 27-year-old pharmacist of 38 Kileen Woods, Tralee, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine worth €70 when searched at 6.17pm by plainclothes gardaí on May 5 last.
Mr Fleming said his client’s employer was standing by him over an “aberration”.
Mr O’Leary had no previous convictions and had been given cocaine by another person.
Judge McNulty said Mr O’Leary knew better than most the risks associated with ingesting “something that came from God knows where, made by God knows who”.
"Sadly, Mr O’Leary is an example of a gifted, privileged, spoilt generation."
He sentenced him to 30 days in prison, despite the emotional pleas of the accused’s father in court.
Daniel O’Connell, a UCC law graduate and past employee of Fexco and with an address at Curragh Lodge, Aghadoe, Killarney, was convicted and fined €900 after he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine when searched at 4.50pm on May 5 last, again at the Sevens event.
The 23-year-old had no previous convictions and his mother, Eileen, told the judge: “I would see him and his peers as being victims of these people who infiltrate these occasions and take advantage of people when they are highly intoxicated and trying to make their sales.”
Later, Lee Garvin, of 19 Trimblestone Road, Booterstown in Dublin and previously of Kinsale, was sentenced to 10 months in prison for sale or supply of cocaine.
The IT recruitment consultant had been searched after initially shouting at and being abusive to passing gardaí near a pub in Kinsale at 9.10pm on May 4 last.
He had pleaded not guilty to the sale and supply charge and to the public order charge, but had been convicted on Monday, having pleaded guilty to possession of the cocaine.
Judge McNulty said Mr Garvin’s claim that the cocaine, worth €1,152.69, was for his own use was “untenable, not credible and downright untruthful”.
The court heard Mr Garvin, 25, had had a difficult childhood and had also refused to provide gardaí with his phone when he went to the Garda station three days after the offence.
He also received a one-month jail term for the public order offence and another one month in prison for the possession offence.
All those convicted lodged appeals.