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'well hidden' 15-year-old found in tent preparing €30,000 of drugs has sentence deferred

Two other men present in the tent each received jail terms

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A 15-year-old found in a tent with two older men engaged in preparing €30,000 of drugs for sale has had his sentencing deferred to allow him to engage with the Probation Service.

The boy, now aged 17-years-old, pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply in Dublin city on April 3, 2020. His two co-accused have been sentenced and received jail terms of two years each.

Garda Ciaran O'Neill told Simon Matthews BL, prosecuting, that gardaí had mounted a covert operation to see if there was drug dealing going on in in the area after noting suspicious activity.

He said gardai found a tent “well hidden” in a shrubby area in a field. They could see three men inside through a mesh widow, one of whom was the 15-year-old, with a large amount of drugs on a table.

Gardai detained the men and recovered a large amount of bagging and drugs paraphernalia. They also found cannabis, heroin, tablets and cocaine with a total combined value of €32,692.

The garda agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending, that the boy’s parents are hard-working and prosocial. He handed a probation report which he said he was relying on into court and asked the judge to take into account his client’s young age.

Judge Melanie Greally said the boy was acting in conjunction with the two older men engaging in the preparation of a variety of drugs for sale. She noted he had made admissions after his arrest and there was a positive probation report before the court.

She said that report gave a background to the offences which related to the boy’s own addiction problems at the time, the company he was keeping and the debts he had accumulated.

Judge Greally noted the report indicated that since being placed under probation supervision the boy was following all directions and engaging well. She said he had made positive changes and had reengaged in education and sports.

The judge said she was of the view he was very immature and naive and had made a number of very poor judgements about how to address the difficulties he was in.

Judge Greally said she thought this was an appropriate case for the deferment of a detention order under Section 144 of the Children Act 2001.

She indicated a sentence of two years detention which she told the boy she would defer until the end of July pending the completion of an updated probation report.

Judge Greally urged the boy to continue to engage positively with the probation service and told him that on receipt of the report in July she could suspend the sentence, impose a different sentence or “if things are not well” she would impose the two-year term.

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