A woman who was caught with a portable safe filled with cocaine in her home was pressured into minding it after her partner died, leaving a €5,000 drug debt, a court has heard.
Shortly after her partner and the father of her four young children died, Elizabeth Grey was told she was responsible for paying off his debt, her counsel told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday.
Grey agreed to hold a safe in her home, which was found to contain just under €20,000 worth of cocaine, Garda Sean Scully told Fergal Foley BL, prosecuting.
When her home was raided by gardaí last year, she admitted that while she did not know exactly what was inside, she “wasn't stupid” and had a good idea about the contents.
Grey pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cocaine for sale or supply at her home in Pearse House, Hanover Street East, Dublin on August 20th, 2020.
Handing down sentence, Judge Melanie Greally accepted that Grey had been put under pressure to mind the safe in order to pay off her late partner's drug debt.
“The court is of the view that in the very particular circumstances in which Ms Grey found herself when she committed this offence, coupled with the fact she is the sole surviving parents to four young children, a custodial sentence would not be appropriate in this case,” the judge said.
Judge Greally handed down a two-and-a-half year sentence, which she suspended in full on a number of conditions.
Patrick McGrath SC, defending, said Grey was traumatised by the bereavement of her long-term partner at the time of the offence. She was left as the sole carer of the couple's four children, who range in age from two to eight-years-old, the court heard.
Her late partner had drug addiction issues and Grey uses cannabis, Mr McGrath said, adding that she has been in touch with a support group to overcome her addiction.
She has not come to the attention of gardaí since the incident and has recently started working part-time as a cleaner, the court heard.