No jail for man caught with over 15,000 prescribed drugs


A father of one who was caught with over 15,000 prescribed drugs following a garda surveillance operation has been given a three year suspended sentence.

Gavin Kinsella (27) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawfully keeping for supply a prescription only medicinal product at his home in Summerhill Parade on December 21, 2013. He has 12 previous convictions which were all dealt with in the District Court.

Judge Martin Nolan had revoked Kinsella's bail last week and remanded him in custody pending sentence yesterday.

He said Kinsella should contemplate while on remand that, “this could be his future if he doesn't reform himself”.

Colm O'Briain SC, defending, told Judge Nolan yesterday that his client had found his time in custody “very difficult”.

The judge said Kinsella was not a chemist and didn't have prescriptions for the drugs but he said he was a young man with prospects.

“I have decided not to imprison him immediately due to his admissions, co-operation with the gardaí and hopes for rehabilitation,” Judge Nolan said before he sentenced Kinsella to three years in prison which he suspended on strict conditions.

Garda Gary Malloy told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, at the sentence hearing last week that during a surveillance operation from December 14 to December 20, 2013 Kinsella was spotted in a number of “suspicious transactions”.

Gardaí got a warrant to search his home the following day. After a conversation with Kinsella through an opened ground level window, they got into the house through that window as Kinsella tried to close it.

During the search 15,908 Zopiclone tablets were found in blister strips along with a small amount of cannabis herb. They have a street value of €1 per tablet.

A statement from the Health Products Regulatory Authority confirmed that Zopiclone was not available in pharmacies in Ireland. It is a drug only available on prescription which is used to treat insomnia and anxiety.

It is usually prescribed for short periods, up to six weeks, as there are dangers of both a physical and psychological dependency if used on a more regular basis. There is also a serious risk of driving or operating machines when under the influence of Zopiclone.

Kinsella was arrested following the search. He claimed he was minding the drugs for someone else in order to pay off a cocaine debt which he had trouble clearing.

Gda Malloy told Mr O'Briain that he didn't accept that Kinsella was holding the drugs for someone else on the basis that he had monitored him “out and about” during the surveillance.

He accepted that he was not as involved with the same peer group as he had been at the time of his arrest.

Mr O'Briain said his client's mother died in June 2012 . He squandered his inheritance and his drug use escalated. He was now living with his partner and their son in his mother's home.