A Polish national who claimed he bought €10,000 of cannabis at a discounted price of €2,500 for personal use has been given a suspended jail sentence having been convicted of drug dealing.
Before Portlaoise Circuit Court was Krzysztof Skorek (41), charged with having drugs for sale or supply, on July 7, 2017.
Detective Garda Rory Heffernan gave evidence, along with State barrister, Mr Will Fennelly, that on that date the gardaí conducted a search of the accused’s home at Gandon Close, Fairgreen, Portlaoise, and discovered cannabis valued at €10,000.
The premises were unoccupied at the time and as well as the drugs, the gardaí also found deal bags, a grinder and ancillary material.
On July 9, the accused was arrested by arrangement and interviewed twice.
He told the gardaí he had been offered the drugs as a special deal at a discounted price and took it all for himself.
Det Heffernan told the court the accused said he bought the half kilo of cannabis for €2,500, but never said who the person was.
The accused claimed that he had bought the drugs from a Slovakian national who returned to Slovakia and needed the money.
The accused, a Polish national living in Ireland ten years, had no previous convictions.
Defence, Mr Rory Hanniffy said that the accused did indicate that he would sell the drug to friends at parties.
He wasn’t in the house when the gardaí arrived, but he did take responsibility for what was in the house.
He used cannabis on a daily basis, but was a minor player on the drugs scene, said defence.
To this, Det Heffernan said he believed the accused was mid-level on the drugs scene, but he has not come to garda attention since.
“I believe this was a wake up call for him,” said Det Heffernan.
Mr Hanniffy said the accused had been smoking cannabis for 15 years. The Director of Public Prosecutions had directed the matter be dealt with by summary disposal, but the district court judge would not accept jurisdiction in the case, said Mr Hanniffy.
To this, Judge Keenan Johnson remarked that the district court judge had been quite right.
Mr Hanniffy went on to say that the accused had not received treatment for his addiction. He had not used drugs over the last two weeks, but his addiction was not overcome.
Defence concluded by saying that the accused had maintained employment throughout his time in Ireland and had been using his income to fund his drug habit.
In sentencing, Judge Johnson said it was a very serious offence and the court had to send out a clear message that people who indulge in this sort of behaviour will suffer the consequences.
He noted that a probation report had assessed the accused at a moderate risk of reoffending, however in mitigation it was noted that the accused had no previous convictions and did not earn a significant income.
“Nonetheless, he knew what he was doing,” said Judge Johson.
The judge imposed a four-year sentence, suspended for six years on condition the accused enter into a peace bond of €500 to keep the peace for six years; he remain under probation supervision for two years and follow all directions; he remain free of illicit drugs and provide urinalysis; and he pay €6,000 in two annual installments of €3,000.
The judge directed that the money paid go to the Portlaoise Family Resource Centre, and the Block Project in Portlaoise.
“He's very lucky to be walking out of here today,” the judge warned.