Cork heroin dealer asks for longer jail sentence

Cork heroin dealer asks for longer jail sentence
Cells and landing area in the new Cork Prison

A 40-YEAR-OLD man who confessed to having heroin for sale or supply at his room in the Simon Community in Cork unusually asked to be jailed for a longer period as he felt that he needed to be in jail to have a chance at rehabilitation.

Vincent Van Der Velde was jailed for 15 months on charges of having diamorphine (heroin) at his room in Simon on Anderson’s Quay, Cork, on August 20, 2019, and having the drug for the purpose of sale or supply.

Inspector Pat Murphy said the accused was arrested at the Simon premises by Garda Lorna Healy and evidence was found on his phone that he was actively involved in dealing heroin.

Joseph Cuddigan, defence solicitor, said he had a novel application to make in the case and that was effectively to impose a much longer sentence than might have been envisaged.

Mr Cuddigan outlined a horrific childhood that the defendant experienced in The Netherlands.

What followed was a deep descent into drugs, said the solicitor.

“He sought solace in the liberal drugs culture in The Netherlands,” said Mr Cuddigan.

“From that time on I would describe his life as one of misery, madness, and drug addiction,” he said.

He said Van Der Velde was struggling with insidious heroin addiction and that the demons from the past were making it even worse.

Mr Cuddigan compared the defendant’s plight to Sisyphus trying to roll a large stone to the top of a slope only for it to roll back down every time.

“He knows he needs this time inside in prison to have a chance at rehabilitation,” he said.

Judge Mary Cashin imposed a 10-month sentence on the heroin-dealing charge consecutive to five months on another charge of having the same drug for his own use a year earlier.

Inspector Murphy said the defendant was caught with a needle containing heroin in his pocket at Grand Parade, Cork, on July 24, 2018.

Judge Cashin said: “Mr Van Der Velde, I wish you well.”

The defendant replied: “Thank you very much, judge.”

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