Lawyer for dealer caught with €17k of MDMA challenges illegality of drug

Darren Snee
Darren Snee

A drug dealer has raised with a Circuit Court judge the issue of today's Court of Appeal ruling that the illegality of certain drugs is now unconstitutional.

Judge Martin Nolan had remanded Darren Snee (25) in custody before lunch today recess after he pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine, cannabis and MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy, for sale or supply at his home on November 18, 2013.

Snee of Oak Court Close, Palmerstown,  Dublin is due for sentence on March 27, after the court heard the MDMA had a street value of €17,050, the cannabis was worth €819 and the cocaine was valued at €399.

When the court resumed, hours after the Appeal Court’s judgment, Pieter Le Vert BL, defending, raised the issue of the ruling with Judge Nolan.

He said the decision meant that making the possession of drugs such as MDMA, Head Shop drugs and crystal meth illegal, was now unconstitutional.

Mr Le Vert advised that the prosecuting barrister in the case, John Quirke BL, was awaiting instructions from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Judge Nolan said as Snee had also been found in possession of both cocaine and cannabis, which have not been made legal, he didn’t believe that his remand in custody pending sentence was unfair.

“If I thought that doing what I did was injustice to your client, I would allow you to re-enter the case but I am happy with my order,” he said.

Today the three-judge appeal court said that Section 2(2) of the 1977 Misuse of Drugs Act, under which the regulation was brought in, was unconstitutional because it purports to vest in the Government with law making powers which are in the exclusive authority of the Oireachtas.

The court concluded it was “a constitutional issue of far-reach importance”.

Following the decision an explanatory memorandum from the Department of Health said that as result of the judgement “all substances controlled by means of Government Orders made under section 2(2) cease to be controlled with immediate effect, and their possession ceases to be an offence”.

These include ecstasy, benzodiazepines and new psychoactive substances often known as ‘headshop drugs’.

It said the judgment had “no implications” for the approximately 125 substances, including cannabis, heroin and cocaine.

Earlier Det Gda John McWeeney said that Snee was seen handing cannabis to known drug users outside his house in Palmerstown.

A search of the house found six bags of cocaine and a bag of rock cocaine hidden in a can of Coors Light in Snee’s wardrobe.

A further 24 deals of cannabis herb was found in his wardrobe while €2,260 in cash was found hidden under his bed. A digital weighing scales was located beside his bed and a black drum was found outside his bedroom window which contained 19 bags of MDMA.

Snee said he was holding the drugs for someone else as he owed them money. He said the cannabis was for his own use.

He claimed the cash was birthday and Christmas money and that the person wanted him to store the drugs and it wasn’t about the money.

Snee has a previous conviction for burglary.

Mr Le Vert said Snee, who is a boxing coach at Palmerstown Boxing Club and a shift worker at Tesco, is still using cannabis but a lot less of it now. He said he wants to study architecture and is heavily involved in sports such as boxing and cycling and that he is a “man with prospects.”