College student convicted after buying drugs on 'dark web'

Student admitted to ordering drugs online on three previous occasions.
College student convicted after buying drugs on 'dark web'

Brion Hoban

A college student who imported cannabis from the United States after purchasing it online using the “dark web” will be discharged from the indictment if he meets certain conditions.

The student told gardaí he intended to smoke or bake the more than €4,000-worth of cannabis and admitted to ordering drugs online on three previous occasions. However, he denied being a drug dealer.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard the student's mental state was “a little precarious” at the time, but things have got “back on track” for him since.

He pleaded guilty to the importation of cannabis at Trinity Halls, Dartry Road, Rathmines, on March 13th, 2019.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis and ketamine for sale or supply at the same address on the same date. He has no previous convictions.

At a previous sentencing hearing, Judge Melanie Greally indicated she was “not completely opposed” to imposing Section 100 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006 which allows the court to impose a fine and defer the passing of a sentence of imprisonment for the offence.

'Enormous potential'

On Thursday, Judge Greally said she intended to impose Section 100 due to the fact that the student “is a very young man” with no previous convictions who has “enormous potential” in terms of his future opportunities which would be severely restricted if he had a conviction.

The judge said it was clear from the evidence that the offending coincided with a particularly low point in his life and an overall deterioration of his well-being, which had led to heavy use of cannabis.

She said that since his detection, he has made “a very impressive turn around in terms of his own circumstances”. She said he has “overcome his dependency on cannabis and excelled academically”.

Judge Greally set an indicative sentence of 16 months imprisonment but said she would defer the imposition on condition that the student pay a €500 fine, carry out voluntary work for St Vincent de Paul for three months and keep the peace and be of good behaviour during the adjourned period.

She said that in the event of compliance with all the conditions she would discharge the student from the indictment and adjourned the matter to March 21st, 2022.

At a previous hearing in November, Detective Garda Eamonn Murphy told Grainne O'Neill BL, prosecuting, that a worker from An Post selected a package sent from California to the accused's then address for further inspection and found it contained cannabis with a value of €4,426.

Det Gda Murphy said gardaí subsequently searched the student's then address and found further drugs, including ketamine worth €1,000 and a small amount of cannabis.

In interview with gardaí, the student said he had recently ordered drugs online using the “dark web”, for which he paid €1,100. He said he had ordered drugs online on three previous occasions and paid using a cryptocurrency.

He told gardaí he had intended to smoke or bake the cannabis he ordered adding that he was a drug addict, having first taken drugs aged 11.

The judge previously adjourned the matter to allow for the canvassing of charitable organisations and for a proposal to then be put to the court regarding a suitable entity that could benefit from the student's experience and skill-set.

Det Gda Murphy agreed with Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, that his client took responsibility for importing the drugs and said he was not going to sell them, but admitted he would give some to his friends.

The detective agreed with counsel that his client was “not in a particularly good way” when he first met with him and his mental state at the time was “a little precarious”. He agreed there has been improvement since then.

Mr Le Vert asked the court to consider imposing Section 100 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006. He said the question is that, given what this man “demonstrably has to give”, should he be curtailed by the recording of a conviction for an offence he committed when he was 19-years-old.

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