18 Aug 2022

Man caught ordering €24,000 of cannabis online receives suspended sentence

Man caught ordering €24,000 of cannabis online receives suspended sentence

A man who was kicked out of his home by his mother and became homeless after being caught ordering €24,000 of cannabis online has received a three and half year suspended sentence.

Anthony McDonald (22) was arrested after customs officials intercepted the package containing the drugs which he had ordered online under the name “Mr Smith”.

McDonald of Amiens Street, Dublin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis for sale or supply at his former address of Cromcastle Court, Kilmore, on August 24, 2019. He has no previous convictions.

At an earlier sentence hearing Garda Peter Morris told Maurice Coffey SC, prosecuting, that customs officials intercepted the package which had been ordered from the United States. The package was to be delivered to his then home address to a “Mr Smith”.

Gda Morris said that on the date in question, gardaí set up a “controlled delivery” where a garda posed as a delivery man and brought the package to the address. McDonald signed for the package as “Mr Smith” and was arrested.

The total value of the drugs was €24,000. Bagging material and weighing scales were found during a search of the address.

In interview with gardaí, McDonald admitted ordering the drugs and said he planned to break them down in order to sell them. He said he hoped to make €7,000 by selling the cannabis.

Gda Morris agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that his client was living with his mother at the time and she threw him out after this offence. He agreed McDonald became homeless for a time and now lives in hostel type accommodation.

The garda agreed with counsel that his client was a “decent enough young lad”. He agreed that while McDonald has come to adverse garda attention since this offence, it was nothing to the scale of this conviction.

Mr Kelly described the purchasing of herbal cannabis over the internet as “the most middle class of interests” and not something that “smacks” of organised criminality. He said McDonald has one son from a previous relationship.

Counsel said his client has completed a detox programme for Benzodiazepines and is on the waiting list for a place in a residential treatment centre. He said his client's relationship with his mother is “improving” as he addresses his drug taking.

Judge Pauline Codd had adjourned the case having previously hear evidence. Passing sentencing on Wednesday, she noted that McDonald has since reconciled with his mother and she was in court to support him.

Judge Codd acknowledged that this was McDonald’s first conviction that he made full admissions and has “significantly turned his life around since”.

She accepted that McDonald has engaged well with the Probation Service and has been “proactive in terms of seeking residential treatment” before she added that “rehabilitation as a goal, was very much a feature of this case”.

“I am going to give him a chance as he has very much embraced the opportunities that were afforded him and has emerged from his addiction,” Judge Codd said before she suspended a three- and half-year jail term in full on condition that he engage with the Probation Service for 18 months.

“You have been given a chance and I want you to take it,” Judge Codd advised McDonald.

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