19 Aug 2022

Inmate had €5,000 of drugs in prison in Portlaoise

Inmate had €5,000 of drugs in prison in Portlaoise

An inmate of the Midlands Prison found in possession of almost €5,000 of drugs has been told the only reason he is not receiving a jail sentence is because he seeking residential treatment for his issues.

Christian Hallihan, Castlemanor Crescent, Castlemartyr, Cork, is charged with bringing drugs into a place of detention.

When the case first came before the district court in January, Inspector Ger Glavin gave evidence that on May 2, 2016, while an inmate of the Midlands Prison, the accused was observed having a bag passed to him which contained drugs valued at €4,980. Among the drugs was cannabis, tablets, cocaine, amphetamines, dia morphine, and MDMA.

The accused had 50 previous convictions.

Defence for the accused handed in a number of reports to the court, outlining that the accused had been diagnosed with autism, after a preliminary diagnosis of Asperger’s.

Defence said that the accused has difficulty in understanding the repercussions of his actions and difficulty in planning his own life.

A report on the accused after his release in October, 2016, indicated he was addressing his underlying drug use issues.

He is now open and honest about his lifestyle, said defence. Defence went on to say that the accused got a serious scare in August of 2017 following a cardiac incident.

At the time of the offence, he was under certain debts which he was under pressure to pay. He very much regrets his actions, concluded defence.

At the court in January, Judge Catherine Staines said they were very serious offences, but noted that the accused was now engaging with all services available to him and staying out of trouble.

The judge put the matter back to April 26 for an up to date probation report, saying that if the report is positive the accused won’t be going to prison.

When the case returned to court last week, after reading the probation report Judge Staines noted the accused was assessed at a very high risk of reoffending and she had to consider a prison sentence.

Defence said that there had been a serious event in the past few days and the accused was admitted to hospital for mental health issues.

Judge Staines asked was there the prospect of a residential placement for the accused and was he prepared to go.

Defence replied he was prepared to go, but has to complete a two-week detox first.

Judge Staines put the matter back to July 5 for an up to date report and expressed her hope that the accused would go for residential treatment.

“That’s the only reason I’m not imposing a sentence, these are very serious charges,” she said.

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