A 51-year-old heroin addict was caught lying in bed in a room where gardaí found over €20,000 worth of heroin, over €1,600 in cash and an electronic weighing scales and now he has been jailed for seven years.
Detective Garda Jerome Murphy testified at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that John O’Leary told gardaí he had been travelling from Cork to Dublin every two or three weeks and bringing back quantities of heroin to deal in Cork city.
“He said he was bringing back quantities of heroin with values of €35,000 to €140,000,” Det Garda Murphy said.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan imposed a sentence of nine years on John O’Leary and suspended the last two years of the sentence.
The judge said of O’Leary:
“Accordingly, the court has to look at it from the point of view of the gravity of the offending conduct and assess the harm done and the level of moral culpability.
“Has there been any genuine remorse and appreciation of wrongdoing? The court has not heard any.”
Niamh Stewart, defence barrister, said the accused had a €20,000 drugs debt which he was under pressure to repay and he had a deep-seated drug addiction going back 15 years.
Judge O’Callaghan said there was perhaps a chink of light – however faint – in terms of the accused rehabilitating on release from prison and two years of the nine years were being suspended on that basis.
John O’Leary who is originally from Churchfield Gardens in Cork was staying in an apartment at Knapp’s Square, John Redmond Street, Cork, on December 6 2020, when he was caught with the heroin with a street value exceeding €13,000. This is the threshold figure for a mandatory ten-year minimum sentence on conviction, unless the judge finds there are exceptional circumstances.
When Det Garda Murphy charged him, John O’Leary replied, “I am caught with it, bang to rights.” Det Garda Murphy said, “He was in bed in the room where the items were discovered. He admitted having the Diamorphine for sale or supply to others.
“He was caught red-handed. He was the main target for the drug search. He made full admissions to selling or supplying heroin on a large scale in Cork city.
“Given his chronic drug use, his drug debt is – by his own admission – at the level of €20,000.
“Cork City Divisional Drugs Unit regard him as one of the main suppliers of heroin in Cork city in recent years.”
O’Leary readily admitted making regular trips from Cork to Dublin to bring back large quantities of heroin to supply in Cork.