A FREEMOUNT man caught with over €30,000 worth of heroin in his attic in Cork City, who has an aversion to needles and has been smoking heroin for 20 years, was jailed for two years.
At Cork Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Helen Boyle said by selling heroin Patrick O’Leary had been spreading misery in Cork City.
She imposed a sentence of four years with half of it suspended on O’Leary, aged 51, who was living in an apartment at Mount Vernon Terrace, St Luke’s, Cork.
O’Leary pleaded guilty to having diamorphine (heroin) for sale or supply at his home on May 21, 2020, when its street value exceeded €13,000, the threshold figure that allows for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years on conviction.
Detective Garda Jeremy Murphy testified that gardaí obtained a warrant to search O’Leary’s home on that date.
“We found heroin with a street value of €298 and a digital weighing scales,” Det Gda Murphy said. That was in O’Leary’s bedroom.
They also found over €31,000 worth of heroin in the attic.
O’Leary was arrested and taken to Mayfield Garda Station for interview.
“He admitted having the diamorphine by his bedside for his own use. He said he had no knowledge of the diamorphine in the attic.
“He is on heroin for over 20 years. He is unemployed. He is on disability allowance,” the detective said.
Judge Boyle was told O’Leary has a gambling and drug addiction and associated criminality.
Det Gda Murphy said: “He denied all knowledge of drugs in the attic when talking to the Probation Service. I did not believe the story he told the Probation Service.
“At the time he was a target of the Cork City divisional drugs unit. I believe he was totally in control of the drugs. He was the only one living in the apartment.”
Defence senior counsel Ray Boland said the plea of guilty was of value to the prosecution and there was no forensic link between the accused and the drugs in the attic.
“He has long-term addiction problems with heroin, alcohol, and gambling,” Mr Boland said.
Det Gda Murphy said: “I am not aware of any drink and gambling but I know about his addiction to heroin.”
Judge Boyle noted from the probation report: “He is entrenched in drug lifestyle and shows no motivation to change.”
Mr Boland submitted that this situation had actually changed: “He has started on methadone, which he is managing to reduce all the time. He is determined to never go on heroin again.”
Judge Boyle noted from the evidence that the accused was originally from Freemount, Co Cork, and “he only smokes heroin — he has an aversion to needles.”