A prison officer who faced charges relating to an incident when he was caught in possession of a large quantity of drugs was given an 18 month prison sentence last Friday morning, January 31, suspended for three years.
His lawyers immediately applied for leave to appeal the sentence. Trevor Gleeson (33), whose address is listed as Mountrice, Monasterevin, was arrested on December 22, 2009, following a short pursuit by Gardai at Grey Abbey Road, Kildare town.
Prior to his arrest, a man who was known to Gardai got into Mr. Gleeson’s car and gave him a bag of drugs. During the short pursuit, Mr. Gleeson was seen throwing what turned out to be the bag of drugs out of the car.
Mr. Gleeson did not contest the fact that he was caught with drugs in his possession, but his lawyers offered a defence of duress saying he was under threat from associates of a well-known criminal gang to play a role in getting the drugs into the Midlands prison, where he worked.
The total value of the drugs was €5,791.76. Mr. Gleeson first faced a trial for the matter in December 2012, where he was found guilty of possession of the drugs and not guilty of a charge of Dangerous Driving.
However, the jury failed to agree on the charge of the possession of the drugs for sale or supply. A second trial on that charge began in July 2013, but did not reach a conclusion, and eventually a ‘nolle prosequi’ was entered in the matter.
Last Friday morning, Friday, January 31, Mr. Gleeson faced sentencing on the possession charge at Naas Circuit Court. Senior Counsel for Mr. Gleeson, Damian Colgan, said that his client did not accept the verdict of the jury in the possession case. He emphasised that the defence was one of duress, and that there was no evidence that his client was a drug user or ever intended to use drugs. In fact, he pointed to evidence to the contrary.
Evidence was given in mitigation, of Mr. Gleeson’s standing within his community, and his work in local organisations, especially sports. Judge Leonie Reynolds acknowledged that no evidence was presented that the defendant was either a drug addict or drug user. She gave him two 18-month sentences – to run concurrently – and suspended both for three years. Counsel immediately applied for leave to appeal the sentence and she agreed, noting that “the verdict of the jury seems to be somewhat curious in the circumstances”.