A man has been given a 12 month suspended prison sentence at Kilkenny Circuit Court, for having drugs for sale or supply.
Calem Donovan, 5 Newpark Lower, Kilkenny, pleaded guilty to the charge and a second charge of being in illegal possession of drugs, which was taken into consideration by Judge Cormac Quinn.
The court heard that on February 8, 2019, gardaí searched Mr Donovan’s home, under a search warrant.
Mr Donovan was present and retrieved an amount of cannabis from the kitchen, which he handed over to gardaí.
He was ‘relatively cooperative,’ Judge Quinn was told.
During the search gardaí found a quantity of cocaine in a bedroom and a digital weighing scales.
The defendant cooperated with gardaí and accepted ownership of all items seized. He was adamant it was for his own, personal use.
Cannabis weighing 7.9g was valued at €158, resulting in the possession charge. The cocaine weighed 24.238g and was valued at €1,696.80 resulting in the ‘sale or supply’ charge.
Mr Donovan was not arrested that night. He went to Kilkenny Garda Station by arrangement on February 19, where he was arrested and interviewed.
Again, Mr Donovan was ‘relatively co-operative,’ accepted ownership of the drugs and was again adamant they were for his own, personal use.
Prosecution barrister Dylan Redmond pointed out the defendant had since pleaded guilty to the charge of having drugs for sale or supply.
He was on bail when this offence was committed.
There were 11 previous convictions recorded against Mr Donovan, including a 2019 conviction and suspended sentence for having drugs for sale or supply.
A garda told the court that in the summer of 2016 Mr Donovan sold drugs to a plain-clothes, undercover garda on three occasions, resulting in that suspended sentence. It showed a pattern of offending.
Barrister Jane McCudden, defending, said Mr Donovan has not come to garda attention since February 2019. He lives with his partner and young child. He made an admission to gardaí at the door before he was even cautioned.
Ms McCudden handed in letters of reference, support and testimonial to the judge from her client’s partner, grandmother, Newpark Soccer Club and GMS Forestry.
Mr Donovan is 26 and pleaded guilty at an early stage, the barrister said. He was given an opportunity to turn away from criminality with the previous suspended sentence and he has taken that chance.
Her client had suffered losses in his childhood that impacted on him and he developed substance abuse problems. All his previous convictions arose from this ‘dysfunctional period in his life.’
Mr Donovan is now a different man, Ms McCudden said. He is a committed family man and works part-time. She asked the court to take into account her client’s difficult upbringing and that rather than letting it affect his whole life he had dealt with the struggles from that period.
She said he was at a low risk of reoffending and justice may be better served by not imposing a custodial sentence so he can continue his progress.
Judge Quinn said the harm caused to society by cocaine was an aggravating factor in this case. Mitigating factors included the defendant’s cooperation, guilty plea, positive probation report and that he has not used illegal substances for two years.
A sentence of 12 months imprisonment was handed down, to be suspended in full on condition Mr Donovan enter a bond to keep the peace for 12 months, be under the supervision of the Probation Service for 12 months and comply with all their requirements.
An order was issued for the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs and paraphernalia seized.
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