‘Last chance saloon’ for heroin addict - Judge

A RECOVERING heroin addict convicted of numerous robberies who claims he is training to become an addiction counsellor has “passed through the doors of the last chance saloon” according to Judge Tony Hunt, with the judge imposing a suspended sentence on the man with conditions that he must continue under the supervision of probation services and get treatment for his addiction.

David Bracken, Ballyfin Road, Portlaoise, robbed three houses between May and June 2011, as well as a Chinese restaurant. He was also convicted of drug offences, pertaining to two bags of heroin he had for sale valued at €40.

He appeared before the October Circuit Court, where the matter was adjourned for him to pay compensation and undergo urine analysis, while he resides at the Cuan Mhuire addiction centre.

At last week’s court, defence, Mr Barry Finlay said that Bracken is going to start a counselling course in Athy, with the goal of becoming a fully fledged counsellor.

Mr Finlay said that his client has shown genuine remorse for his crimes and had gathered up €5,000 compensation.

“I’m sure that will be of assistance,” remarked Judge Hunt.

The judge noted that the report on Bracken was mostly positive, although he had been “a slow learner on the rehabilitation front”.

“The public interest is in keeping him out of prison and away from offending,” said Judge Hunt. “The reality is that an acceptable solution is difficult, especially given his history.”

He said that an excellent probation report and substantial compensation was the best way to proceed, although this was provisional on future good behaviour.

The judge imposed two three-year sentences, concurrent, but he suspended them for three years on Bracken’s own bond of €300 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for that period.

“A third (breach of suspended sentence) will see him gone,” Judge Hunt cautioned.

Bracken must remain at Cuan Mhuire and stay under the supervision of probation services for 12 months. He must keep all appointments and advise his probation officer immediately if he changes address. He must also attend for assessment and treatment for his addiction.

“You’ve passed through the doors of the last chance saloon,” Judge Hunt warned him.

The matter was adjourned to Portlaoise District Court on February 7.


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