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tusk time Ex-cocaine dealer is 'gutted' at conviction for trading elephant and a sperm whale​ parts

The recovering alcoholic also says he's been deeply hurt by the judge describing what he had done as a "despicable crime"

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Kieran Bradley

Kieran Bradley

Kieran Bradley

A reformed ex-drug dealer says he's "completely gutted" after he was fined £500 for trading parts of an African elephant and a sperm whale.

Self-confessed ex-cocaine pusher Kieran Bradley was convicted of trading in endangered species at a contested hearing on Monday.

The father of two, from Rosemount Gardens in Derry, pleaded not guilty to the unusual charge and told this paper the court action was "ridiculous".

The recovering alcoholic also says he's been deeply hurt by the judge describing what he had done as a "despicable crime" and that the conviction almost had him reaching for a bottle of brandy.

Bradley claims the authorities have made his life a misery and persecuted him because of his drug-dealing past and because he refused to become a paid informer for the PSNI eight years ago.

When initially charged last year, he said that reports he was trading endangered species were simply untrue and instead he was an antique collector and trader and had bought items on eBay - one which unwittingly contained ivory and the other was an old whale's tooth.

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Kieran Bradley

Kieran Bradley

Kieran Bradley

But despite his protestations he's been convicted, fined heavily and the controversial items were ordered to be forfeited and destroyed.

Kieran was found guilty of a single charge of trading in endangered species, namely an African elephant and a sperm whale, on dates between December 12, 2016 and November 11, 2017.

Yesterday the 47-year-old said he was considering appealing the conviction which had left him "shocked" and "depressed".

"The judge wouldn't accept my story and it was really hurtful when he said it was a 'despicable crime'," said Kieran.

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"He said if people like me didn't trade in ivory there would be no need for people to kill elephants. He made me sound like some kind of hunter out there killing the animals.

"I'm completely gutted. Before I didn't really care but now I'm gutted. I'm 47 years old and I have turned my life around in the last ten years. I've been a model citizen but this has wrecked me.

"They have dragged me through the courts on a misunderstanding and it's cost a fortune I'm sure in legal fees and all just to fine me £500.

"I've been off drink and drugs for over 12 years and I'll be honest on Monday night I nearly opened a bottle of brandy. I just thought I might as well go back on the tear. I can't sleep at night.

"I have mental health problems and this has left me depressed and shocked because now I have a wildlife crime conviction and I love animals. I was a member of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and had been learning how to ring birds for conservation but I'll be kicked out of that now because of this."

Kieran says he didn't feel he was given sufficient opportunity to prove his case.

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Kieran Bradley

Kieran Bradley

Kieran Bradley

"The contest hearing only lasted about 30 minutes but I was disappointed I wasn't allowed to bring any witnesses," he said.

"I tried to explain to the judge that the ivory I had was ancient and there are thousands of whale teeth in the antique world because the English slaughtered so many of them for their oil years ago.

"I even told there was ivory everywhere and during the terror attack in London didn't a hero use a narwhal tusk to fight off a man with a knife but he wasn't interested.

"Now I'm thinking of appealing and going to the Police Ombudsman because the police took stuff out of my house that belongs to my dad and I want it all back."

Last November the colourful Derry man told the Sunday World how he came to be in possession of the items.

"I've seen these reports about me buying and selling elephants and whales and it's completely untrue," he told us at the time.

"The truth is I was left a lot of antiques by my dad. I collect stuff, my house is full of antiques and gold I've bought off eBay. I didn't know it was ivory. I had bought bovine bone for arts and crafts. I didn't know it was ivory but there's ivory in everything anyway.

"Loads of antiques have ivory in them, in fact everything made a couple of hundred years ago had ivory in it. I had 17th century glove stretchers with ivory on them, photos that had ivory on the back and cocktail holders made with ivory - all antiques from hundreds of years ago."

He also confessed to having "destroyed families" in the Maiden City, having been involved in dealing drugs for many years.

He's since turned his life around and is involved in helping others caught up in the misery of illegal drugs.

He's a recovering drug addict and alcoholic and has been off both for 12 years when he also stopped his involvement in the Derry drug dealing trade. Kieran told us: "I want you to put in that I was a bad bastard back in the day, I was dealing cocaine and cannabis on a massive scale. I know I've destroyed the lives of many families in this town.

"Now I've turned my life around by helping other addicts into recovery. I give talks at a community group set up to help people addicted to drugs.

"I'm not looking for a Blue Peter badge or anything, but I have turned my life around and I'm doing my best to give something back."

Kieran says when he was involved in drug dealing, he was making £40,000 a week.

"It was mental money I was making but I was addicted to cocaine. I was a complete bastard. I was crazy," he said.

"I was shot several times and it was all because of drugs and there were occasions when I fired a gun back as well as a crossbow.

"I went to jail for a long time in 1998 for dealing cannabis and when I came out I was flat-out dealing drugs again. Cocaine ruined me. I was completely addicted, and my mental health is still suffering because of it.

"I tried taking my own life in 2003 because of cocaine. I was pronounced dead and had to be revived - all because of drugs. I'm done with all that now but it's a daily struggle."

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