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Man convicted of drug possession claims State suppressed evidence about criminal gang

CourtsBy Sunday World
Man convicted of drug possession claims State suppressed evidence about criminal gang

Lawyers for a man convicted of possessing drugs have claimed the State suppressed evidence which supported his contention that he was acting under duress from associates of a well-known criminal gang.

Trevor Gleeson (36), with an address in Monasterevin, Co Kildare, had pleaded not guilty at Naas Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €5,791 worth of controlled drugs, possession for sale or supply and dangerous driving at Grey Abbey Road, Kildare Town on December 22, 2009.

A jury found him guilty of possessing the drugs but failed to reach a verdict on the charges of possession for sale or supply and dangerous driving. He was retried on the remaining charges, however, the charges were dropped during the trial.

He was given a wholly-suspended 18 month sentence by Judge Leonie Reynolds on January 31, 2014.

Opening an appeal against conviction today, Gleeson's barrister, Damian Colgan SC, said his client did not contest the fact he was caught with the drugs but his defence was that he was under duress from associates of a well-known criminal gang.

Mr Colgan said there was a "suppression of evidence" by the State in the first trial which emerged in the second trial, resulting in the remaining charges being dropped.

Mr Colgan said the dropping of the charges would have extended to all counts had their not been a perverse verdict on the single count of possession in the first trial.

Gleeson made a complaint to gardaI in April 2010 that he was threatened by certain individuals and that his contentions would have been supported by CCTV footage.

Mr Colgan said the footage was not made available to the defence in the first trial. However, it must have been retrieved shortly after it was captured in March 2010 because, Mr Colgan said quoting a garda, CCTV footage could only be stored for five months.

Mr Colgan said Gleeson complained that a number of matters weren't being properly investigated by gardai.

Counsel for Director of Public Prosecutions, Carl Hanahoe BL, said there was a "sequence of own-goals" in the investigation but there was simply no evidence that material was suppressed.

Mr Hanahoe said the jury would have been discharged in the first trial had the CCTV footage emerged but that was not to say there wouldn't have been a retrial.

Mr Justice George Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would reserve judgment.

Ruaidhrí Giblin