15 Aug 2022

Portlaoise man 'felt he could do what he wanted'

Court to keep an eye on Portlaoise man convicted of drug offences

Portlaoise man 'felt he could do what he wanted'

A Portlaoise man convicted of drug dealing felt he could do what he wanted as his father was a garda, Portlaoise Circuit Court heard.

Before the court recently was Michael Donovan (27), St Brigid’s Place, Portlaoise, appealing a six-month sentence he received in the district court for drug dealing.

At the appeal, Garda Doolan gave evidence that on October 27, 2017, he was on mobile patrol when he observed the appellant so he stopped the patrol car.

The appellant immediately fled the scene and the garda gave chase on foot, shouting for him to stop.

Garda Doolan told the court that the appellant was known to him previously.

After a foot chase he garda caught up with the appellant, but Donovan discarded a package. Another garda recovered the package and it was discovered to contain cannabis herb.

Garda Doolan said there were 26g of the drug valued at approximately €520.

A search warrant was then obtained for the appellant’s home and small quantities of cannabis herb, cannabis resin and cocaine were found, as well as weighing scales.

Also found was €1,550 in €50 notes.

Garda Doolan said the appellant admitted the items were his, but denied selling or supplying drugs.

Garda Doolan said the appellant made a comment to gardaí about selling drugs to clear a debt, but later denied making this comment.

Defence for the appellant, barrister Mr Thompson, said that his client had a terrible attitude to the gardaí, as his own father was a garda and he felt himself invincible.

“Because his father was a garda he felt he could do what he wanted,” confirmed Garda Doolan.

In a separate incident, Garda Detective Padraic Ryan gave evidence that on a date in April, the gardaí conducted a search of the appellant’s house. He said the gardaí had to break down the door of the house and found the appellant and his young child on the premises.

Det Ryan said the appellant made a burst for the sitting room, where he discarded a phone and a package into the fire. The phone was recovered, but the package went up in flames and only tin foil was left.

There was a struggle and the appellant was arrested.

The appellant had seven previous convictions, including drugs, hit and run, and assault causing harm.

Taking the stand, the appellant admitted he had a very bad attitude at the time, as his father was a retired garda.

He said he had been seeing a counsellor since and had got a job. He also told the court that he had been clean of drugs for at least three months.

The appellant had €1,000 in court to offer as compensation and said he wished to apologise to Det Ryan.

The appellant’s mother also gave evidence, telling the court that her son had really changed and he doesn’t take drugs anymore, she said.

In ruling, Judge Keenan Johnson said: “He was quite clearly out of control at the time and behaving like a pup, goading the gardaí.”

The judge said that the appellant has now turned his life around, but the court would keep an eye on him. The matter was adjourned to December 5, for a probation report and for the appellant to be assessed for community service.

Judge Keenan also directed that the €1,000 the appellant had court be given to the charity, Hugh’s House.

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