A Laois man who breached a suspended sentence by committing further offences avoided having the sentence activated by Portlaoise Circuit Court recently, as he is already serving a sentence for having €4,000 of drugs for sale in prison.
Before the court was Trevor McAleer (30), charged with a section 99 matter of breaching a suspended sentence.
State barrister, Mr Will Fennelly said that the accused was given a four-year sentence in May, 2015, with the final two years suspended on condition he enter into a peace bond, remain under probation supervision, remain drug free, pay compensation, and not be within a five-mile radius of Portlaoise.
He was released from custody in December, 2016, and now has new convictions.
Detective Garda Conor Murphy gave evidence that the accused came to garda attention on January 6, 2017, and at Ennis District Court on February 17, 2017, he received a prison sentence for road traffic offences and theft.
The accused then appeared back before Portlaoise Circuit Court for the original suspended sentence to be dealt with, but that court heard that McAleer was appealing the Ennis convictions.
Det Murphy informed the court that no appeal was subsequently entered. McAleer then spent time in custody for these offences and was released in January of this year.
The accused also received a prison sentence for drug offences, having been convicted of having €4,000 of heroin for sale or supply at Mountjoy Prison. He is due for release on December 10, 2019.
Defence, barrister Ms Geraldine Fitzpatrick questioned what subsection of the section 99 laws was being relied upon by the State, as two subsections have recently been declared void.
Det Murphy said that when McAleer was convicted in Ennis, the detective made the application to reenter the matter.
Ms Fitzpatrick said her client was released from custody on December 28, 2016, then went back into custody in February, 2017, meaning he only had a two-month period opportunity to engage with the services.
Mr Fennelly pointed out that other conditions of the suspended sentence had also not been complied with, including compensation. The court heard that McAleer had said he would pay the compensation out of money he was due from a personal injury claim.
Ms Fitzpatrick said that an offer had been made in relation to this and rejected, with a hearing date fixed in the matter.
Said Mr Fennelly: “I don’t think anyone can seriously suggest he has kept the peace and been of good behaviour, it puts it beyond all reasonable doubt that he hasn’t kept the peace.”
Ms Fitzpatrick said the State’s evidence related to two subsequent incidents and this was the first time the details were specified to defence.
In ruling, Judge Johnson said he was not disposed to reactivating the sentence as McAleer was already serving a sentence.
Saying that compensation had to be paid, Judge Johnson directed that the solicitor dealing with McAleer’s personal injury claim notify the State when it is paid, so the money can be redirected as compensation.