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Smuggling cannabis Delivery driver who transported drugs to pay off gambling debt avoids jail term

Muhammad Qaisar (32) has no previous convictions except for a matter concerning a residency visa

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A delivery driver who turned to smuggling cannabis in “desperation” after racking up a large gambling debt has been given a four-year suspended sentence for drugs possession.

Muhammad Qaisar (32), of Glanmire Road, Cork City, a Pakistani national, has no previous convictions except for a matter concerning a residency visa.

Garda Niamh Guilfoyle told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that she stopped Qaisar in a car on April 15, 2020 at St Oliver’s Park in Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

Cannabis worth €20,400 was found in several parcels concealed in the car, including in the spare wheel well – which Qaisar pointed out to Gardaí himself.

He was arrested and admitted when interviewed that he had driven from Cork to Dublin in order to collect the drugs and deliver them to a person in Cork.

Garda Guilfoyle agreed Qaisar had been “co-operative” throughout their investigation, and gave up his phone and its access codes for analysis.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, argued the quantity of drugs was “only just over the threshold” for a conviction under Section 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act and asked Judge Martin Nolan to consider sparing Qaisar a jail term.

“The root cause was his addiction to gambling,” he said, saying that Qaisar’s had racked up a large debt as his habit spiraled out of control following the breakdown of his marriage and the deaths of his parents in the two years leading up to the offence.

Counsel said Qaisar was working as a delivery driver and had been receiving financial support from relatives.

“When they realised how much he was gambling, they cut him off,” he said. “Things were falling apart in his life.”

“Clearly the choice he made to get involved in the drug world was reprehensible. He was someone who fell into this out of desperation.”

“Gambling is a real addiction,” he said. “Mr Qaisar needs support.”

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Judge Nolan said the mitigating factors in the case were clear, and that he would take the accused’s early plea, co-operation with Gardaí, and previous good behaviour and clean record into account.

“It seems to me he is a very small cog in a bigger wheel. His reward was as low as €500.”

He sentenced Qaisar to four years’ imprisonment, suspended for that time on condition of good behaviour, and ordered him to submit to the supervision of the Probation Service for the next 18 months.

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