A 27-year-old single mother originally from Poland has been given until June to get her affairs in order before Portlaoise Circuit Court imposes a prison sentence for having close to €5,000 of drugs for sale or supply.
Alicia Durlik (27), 61 De Vesci Court, Portlaoise, was charged with three counts of drug possession, three counts of having drugs for sale or supply, and one charge under the money laundering and terrorist financing act, at her home address, on September 30, 2016.
Detective Garda JP O’Brien gave evidence, along with State barrister, Mr Will Fennelly, that gardaí attended her home on the date to conduct a drug search.
The accused was observed opening a window and discarding a large amount of property that landed at the feet of the gardaí, including cannabis.
Entry was gained and the accused and a male were found on the premises, and the male had white powder on his clothes.
A search was undertaken and cocaine to a value of €217, cannabis herb to a value of €3,400, and amphetamines worth €1,255 were located, giving a total of €4,872 of drugs.
Cash of €1,000 was also found. The accused was arrested and admitted the drugs were hers.
Det O’Brien told the court that the accused said she had just started dealing as she was out of work, and Mr Fennelly added that she had said her previous partner was involved in drug dealing.
The accused admitted that some of the money was from the sale of drugs, but the rest was from legitimate means.
Det O’Brien said the accused, a Polish national with a young son, had been in Ireland about five years. She had one previous conviction for theft, from a foreign court.
Defence, barrister Mr Colm Hennessy said the accused answered every question put to her by gardaí. She did not tell them where she got the drugs as she feared for her safety and her son’s.
She wasn’t earning at the time and was not getting social welfare, so she sold the drugs to raise money.
Mr Hennessy said she was completely estranged from her partner and was on her own in court, with no immediate family in Ireland.
Judge Keenan Johnson said a probation report was needed, but stated that as far as he was concerned a custodial sentence was merited.
“I’ve sat here today (April 10) and every single case has been related to drugs, it’s an appalling state of affairs and the court must send out a message that anyone who peddles drugs will go to jail,” said Judge Johnson.
He said he had seen so many lives ruined by rampant drug abuse and the accused was an enabler of that.
Mr Hennessy agreed that the court should send out a message, but asked that it not use this case as a deterrent as sentencing would have an effect on the accused's son.
Judge Johnson remanded the accused in custody to the following week for a probation report, but said there had to be some custodial element to the sentencing.
He also directed that the money seized go to two local drugs organisations, Merchants Quay and Coote Street.
When the case returned to the circuit court the following week, Mr Hennessy said there was a good probation report on the accused, which placed her at a low risk of reoffending.
He asked the court to consider alternatives to a custodial sentence.
However, while acknowledging that the accused is the mother of a young child and her incarceration will have an effect on the child, Judge Johnson said that the accused had made the conscious decision to become involved in the sale or supply of drugs and “the grave effect that has on society”.
Saying that there had to be a custodial element to the case, Judge Johnson put the matter back to June 26 for the accused to get her affairs in order.
The judge warned that he may impose a sentence of two years and six months, with the final two years suspended.
“I don’t impose that sentence lightly, but I have to send out a message,” said Judge Johnson.