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Love/Hate actor was given an “ultimatum” and pressured into storing drugs, court hears

Love-Hate actor Leroy Harris
Love-Hate actor Leroy Harris

AN actor, who appeared in Love/Hate was given an “ultimatum” and pressured into storing €2,500 worth of cannabis to repay a drug-debt, Dublin District Court was told today.

Leroy Harris (21), who had a recurring role in the hit RTE crime drama, pleaded guilty today to unlawful possession of cannabis at an address on Rutland Street, in Dublin 1, on October 8, 2012, and having the drug for the purpose of sale or supply to another on the same date.

Judge Anthony Halpin heard at Dublin District Court that gardai searched the address and recovered cannabis worth €2,540. Harris later went to Store Street garda station and took responsibility for the drugs.

He had a prior criminal conviction for possessing cannabis which resulted in him being ordered last year to carry out 150 hours of community service in lieu of a six-month sentence. Judge Halpin noted that the offence before the court pre-dated that case.

Defence solicitor Stephen O'Mahony told Judge Halpin that Harris “was holding the drugs on behalf of a third party”.

The solicitor said that his client had built up a cannabis debt worth about €1,000 and this happened when Harris was 18-years-old. He said Harris had been smoking cannabis recreationally during his teenage years but as a result of the debt “he was given an ultimatum” and “he had to hold the drugs or he would face the consequences, he took it on himself to comply”.

Mr O'Mahony asked the court to note that his client had acted in an RTE drama but like a lot of actors he does not have consistent work.

“Sounds like a barrister's life,” remarked Judge Halpin which drew a smile from the defendant.

His solicitor said Harris no longer abuses drugs; he said the young man has “wised up” and his family were supportive and want to make sure he will not get into trouble again.

Judge Anthony Halpin accepted Harris “yielded to pressure placed on him because of a particular debt that was capitalised upon by these people”.

“It is amazing the stranglehold these pushers have over people over money and it does not help these people kick the habit,” he said.

He adjourned the case for four weeks for a probation report on the 21-year-old's suitability to carry out 90 hours community service in lieu of a six-month term.

The budding actor, who has an address at from Mariner's Port, Dublin 1, remains on bail.

He played the character Glen in the hit RTE drama Love/Hate. One of his scenes was at the centre of a controversy for showing his on-screen character filming a friend firing shots from an automatic weapon and killing a cat.

The DPP has directed that his case could be dealt with at district court level, by way of “summary disposal”. After hearing that the alleged value of the cannabis was €2,450, jurisdiction was accepted last month when he made his first appearance on these charges.