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Dublin mum caught holding drugs and stun gun in family home

CourtsBy Sunday World
Aisling Clarke
Aisling Clarke

A mother of four caught holding drugs and a stun gun in her family home after being "preyed on" by those in the drugs trade has avoided jail but may lose her house.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard eviction proceedings have been brought by the county council against Aisling Clarke (44) and it is anticipated that she will lose her home following a hearing next month.

Clarke, of Meadowlands Avenue, Mounttown, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs and stun gun at the home she shares with three of her children on November 10, 2015.

Clarke, who has no previous convictions, told gardai after her arrest that she had issues with heroin addiction in the past but had been clean for several years at the time of this offence.

Judge Melanie Greally said the gardai accepted that Clarke was someone who had been "preyed on" by a third party and was holding the items for someone much higher up the pecking order in the drugs trade, after being identified as someone who would be vulnerable to such an approach.

She noted reports handed into court were largely favourable and all the indications were she was doing her best to be a good mother to her children.

Judge Greally imposed a three-and-a-half-year sentence, which she suspended in full on condition she engage with the Probation Service in relation to counselling, as well as her accommodation and training needs.

Garda Ivor Scully told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardai found a total of 1,480 MDMA tablets, with a street value of €14,480, in various locations around the house. The also found a taser stun gun in the kitchen and a number of grinders used for preparing cannabis.

Gda Scully said the taser stun gun was examined and found to be a restricted weapon capable of delivering an electrical shock and incapacitating a person for a few minutes.

He agreed with Ronan Prendergast BL, defending, that Clarke had been holding the items for another person and she was not the "prime mover". Clarke was receiving €50 cash or cannabis a week for her role.

Gda Scully agreed the offence was out of character and said her vulnerability had resulted in her being "preyed on" by a third party who took advantage of her. He said he did not believe she was the type of person who would come to garda attention again once she stayed on the straight and narrow.

Mr Prendergast told the court that the local county council had brought eviction proceedings against Clarke and it was anticipated that she would lose her home following a hearing next month. He submitted that this "likely consequence" would be a "significant punishment".

He handed in a number of reports to the court and outlined that Clarke had her first child at a very young age and a number of years later moved to London where she became involved in drug use.

She developed a heroin addiction and made several attempts at rehabilitation over the years. She was no longer using drugs at the time of the offence but had been using cannabis following the death of her father in 2014, for whom she had been an unofficial carer.

Fiona Ferguson