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No jail for Dublin hurler caught with more than €8k worth of cocaine

No jail for Dublin hurler caught with more than €8k worth of cocaine

A DUBLIN hurler duped by a “sinister individual” into carrying a package containing more than €8,000 worth of cocaine has been spared a custodial sentence and a criminal record.

Mark Maguire, 20, of Glendown Avenue, Templeogue, Dublin pleaded guilty to possessing drugs with intent to supply on July 10, 2015.

He pleaded guilty last year but sentencing had been adjourned for 12 months after Judge Michael Walsh heard Maguire had been naive and had no involvement in drug dealing.

Dublin District Court had heard gardai were carrying out an operation and followed a man in a car and Maguire walked over and received a small package, which he put in his pocket.

When gardai stopped him the package was found to contain €8,600 worth of cocaine.

A person "he regarded as a friend" contacted Maguire and asked him to do a favour for him, defence barrister Ronan Kennedy had said earlier.

"The individual prevailed upon him and his suspicions were raised; he thought it could contain a small quantity of drugs but he had no idea of the seriousness of what was involved," Mr Kennedy said.

It was a "stupid mistake" and the accused admitted he was "easily led on”, counsel said. There was no evidence found on the accused or at his house that he had been dealing drugs.

The court heard he was a talented and promising player on St Jude's hurling team in Terenure and coached junior players.

When the case resumed, Mr Kennedy said Maguire has not come to Garda attention since and his behaviour has been exemplary in the intervening 12-month period.

He completed the Leaving Certificate, has been working full time since January and is an apprentice.

A letter from his parents was furnished to the court and counsel said it reflected efforts Maguire made to address particular issues in his life.

He has done everything asked of him and demonstrated a positive attitude to rehabilitation, the barrister said.

He said his client spends his time working and taking part in his sporting endeavours. Maguire had saved €2,000 and counsel asked the court to treat the offence as a “once off”.

Mr Kennedy said Maguire was “duped by a sinister individual to carry a package”. Pleading for leniency, he said it has been a salutary lesson for Maguire who has a bright future, has shown remorse and has no prior convictions.

Psychological reports were also furnished to the court and Judge Michael Walsh noted he has dealt with his issues.

Urine analysis showed that he has remained drug free.

He had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the judge also noted.

Judge Walsh said Maguire worked hard to change his life and he noted the impact of the case on his very supportive family.

He appeared to be doing well in his job and playing hurling for his club, he said.

Judge Walsh commented that some people say everyone is entitled to a chance.

It was a particularly serious offence, he said, but he believed Maguire was naive and easily lead, and that was born out by all the evidence.

He said he was going to leave him without a conviction and he was impressed that he had saved €2,000 which he ordered him to donate to Merchant Quay project which helps people suffering from drug addiction.

The defence said that could be done forthwith at which the judge struck out the case.