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Dublin father-of-three caught with heroin-filled football

CourtsBy Sunday World
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A father-of-three, who was caught by gardai hiding a heroin filled football in a front garden, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Paul Dempsey (51) had been caring for his son's maternal grandmother when he agreed to hold €28,517 worth of heroin.

He was in the front garden of the woman's home when garda Stephen Byrne noticed him acting suspiciously and trying to hide a round object.

A warrant was secured, and within the hour the drugs were discovered.

Dempsey, of Galtymore Road, Drimnagh, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs for sale or supply in Rathmines on May 6, 2015. He has previous convictions for road traffic offences and for possession of drugs.

Garda Eoin Hickey told Fiona Murphy BL, prosecuting that Dempsey was arrested the following day. He agreed to give his finger and palm prints but otherwise made no admissions to gardai.

A print found on the package in which the heroin was wrapped was later analysed and found to match Dempsey's palm print.

Gda Hickey said gardai were satisfied that Dempsey was not the owner of the drugs.

He agreed with Sean Gillane SC, defending that Dempsey had previously been in the grip of a heroin addiction and a conviction for possession of drugs in 2000 relates to that period.

Gda Hickey accepted that Dempsey had since relapsed into drug use and had also developed a serious gambling addiction. He further accepted that he "may have been taken advantage of".

Mr Gillane told Judge Melanie Greally that his client "fell prey to heroin abuse in the 1980s at a time when that drug took hold of Dublin city".

He said his recent gambling addiction had made him "vulnerable and prey to a certain level of exploitation".

Mr Gillane asked the court to accept that while his client had "an important function", he was effectively minding the drugs. He had since moved in with his ex-partner and her husband and that woman had had "an incredibly positive influence on him".

Judge Greally said Dempsey was not the owner of the drugs but had them for "onward transmission to their ultimate market".

She acknowledged that he had taken "positive steps" to address his addictions and he had "positive family support". She suspended the final year of a four-year sentence on strict conditions.