15 Aug 2022

Sold drugs in Laois town in an effort to pay off significant debt

Sold drugs in Laois town in an effort to pay off significant debt

A man charged with drugs offences must engage 100 per cent with the Probation Services if he is to avoid a prison sentence.

Owen Foster, 27, of 8 Kilmalogue Downs, Portarlington appeared before Portlaoise District Court on Thursday last charged with possession of drugs and possession for sale or supply at Kilmalogue Lawns, Portarlington on October 25, 2020.

Sgt JJ Kirby told the court that Mr Foster had been found with ten small bags with a white substance in them.

It was cocaine with a value of €900.

Mr Foster made full admissions and had co-operated with the gardaí.

Defence solicitor Philip Meagher said that he was a 27-year old single man with no dependents. His dad was in court to support him.

He had had a lot of difficulties for a number of years and his parents had had a challenging period around him.

The root of his difficulties was in the first pages of the report before the judge.

Upon a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder, certain changes were made and supports made.

A stable environment was now in place around him. His relations with his parents were re-established.

He had now secured a job and was doing very well. He was no longer using drugs and had cut all associations in this area.

He had been selling drugs to pay off a significant debt. Threats had been made.

His father had to step in and take from the family savings to pay off the debt. Owen Foster was now paying back his father from his wages.

He was a completely different man now.

It was a classic example of the ripple effect of the drugs trade on a family, noted Mr Meagher.

Sgt Kirby said that Owen Foster had been actively engaged in selling cocaine. He had been convicted previously for it.

Judge Catherine Staines said it was a very serious offence.

“You have previous convictions and in those circumstances you would normally get ten months,” she told him.

She noted the clinical psychologist report and the diagnosis of the autism spectrum disorder.

He had had difficulties in coping and got involved in cocaine.

He ended up owing money and was selling it to pay off this debt.

She postponed sentencing to September 9.

She asked for a Probation Report stating that he was drug free.

“If I hear that you are still involved in drugs you will be going to prison.

“You are very fortunate you have family support,” she told him.

The Probation Report would need to show 100 per cent co-operation.

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