Portlaoise man given chance by Judge

A Portlaoise man with a criminal record who was addicted to drink and drugs since a young child has been given a chance by Judge Catherine Staines to continue to engage with treatment services.

A Portlaoise man with a criminal record who was addicted to drink and drugs since a young child has been given a chance by Judge Catherine Staines to continue to engage with treatment services.

Before last week’s district court was 21-year-old Daniel Lawless, 5 Mountain View Square, Portlaoise, charged with drug possession and possession for sale or supply, at Portlaoise Garda Station on March 16 last year.

Inspector Maria Conway gave evidence that Lawless had been arrested for public order offences and while he was being conveyed to the garda station he attempted to discard a bag of white powder, which was later revealed to be a controlled substance.

He was also charged with being intoxicated, using threatening or abusive behaviour, and criminal damage, at Main Street, Stradbally, on April 6 last year.

On that date, Lawless was observed in a highly intoxicated state causing damage to a window.

“He was in the presence of another male when an elderly person’s window was broken,” said Insp Conway.

The inspector went on to say that when the gardaí spoke to him, Lawless became highly abusive and shouted profanities. He was directed to leave the scene, but failed to do so. The damage to the window was €200.

Defence was solicitor, Mr Declan Breen.

Mr Breen said that Lawless had got extremely drunk on vodka on April 6 and was with another person when the window was broken. Mr Breen admitted his client was guilty of the criminal damage charge, but there was no chance of his paying compensation.

In relation to the offence on March 16, Mr Breen said Lawless had been getting the drugs for a group of people who used to take it in turns and it was his turn to purchase them that week.

Defence said that Lawless had been addicted to drink and drugs since a youth, taking hash by the age of 12 and alcohol by 15. He had multiple brushes with the gardaí and amassed a series of convictions which were all drink and drug related.

Mr Breen said that matters came to a head in September 2014 after Lawless’ parents sought a barring order against him and he was homeless, which provided him with “a light bulb moment”. He went cold turkey, got off drugs and drink and secured a place in hospital. Mr Breen said that Lawless had received treatment with Cuan Mhuire last October.

“He has steadfast resolve that this is the end of his bad ways,” said Mr Breen, adding that Lawless’ family have now accepted him back.

“His offending was appalling, but he’s asking for a chance,” concluded Mr Breen.

Judge Catherine Staines noted that Lawless had cooperated fully with the probation service, and had completed a course in Athy. She remarked that he had been addicted to drink and drugs since he was a young child, and had now written a very well written letter showing remorse for all the trouble he had caused.

“I could send you to prison today and all that good work would be undone, but I’m going to give you a chance,” said the judge.

Judge Catherine Staines ruled that she would adjourn the case for six months. She advised Lawless to seek help with the Fellowship House in Cork, and put the matter back to September 17 for an up to date probation report. The judge also ordered Lawless to pay €200 compensation for the criminal damage.