Cannabis charge  | 

Ex senior garda John Murphy set to plead guilty over €13k drug seizure, court told

He has not yet taken up bail

Former Garda Supt. John Murphy

Tom Tuite

A former garda Superintendent charged over a drug seizure in Dublin is to draft a signed plea of guilty, a court heard today.

The Garda National Bureau of Criminal Investigation (GNBCI) recovered cannabis herb during search operations on September 29.

John Murphy, 61, was charged with possessing cannabis worth over €13,000 at his home in a north Dublin suburb.

The offence is contrary to Section 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act which can carry a 10-year sentence.

On October 4, bail was set in his bond of €500, but a €20,000 independent surety must be approved.

Gardai submitted the case file to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

He has not yet taken up bail and appeared via video-link today at Cloverhill District Court.

Detective Sergeant Brian Hanley told Judge Victor Blake, "the DPP has directed this matter should proceed on indictment". It means the case will go to the Circuit Court, which has broader sentencing powers.

Judge Blake asked how long the State needed to prepare the book of evidence.

However, defence counsel Janet Winston told the court that there was also "consent to a signed plea".

Judge Blake noted the directions for trial on indictment or that Mr Murphy could be sent forward for sentence on a signed plea.

The GNBCI detective sergeant agreed and said the defence had made the offer.

Counsel asked for an adjournment to draft the signed plea.

Judge Blake noted the defence was telling the court "he is to be sent forward on a signed plea". As a result, the State did not need to prepare a book of evidence due to the plea offer.

Judge Blake said two weeks should be adequate, and the matter should move forward as expeditiously as possible.

Mr Murphy spoke briefly to confirm his name and that he could see and hear the court proceedings.

Judge Blake remanded him in custody to appear again at Cloverhill District Court in person on March 24 for the draft plea to be in court.

On November 5, the court granted the former senior garda legal aid. It followed an application from his solicitor, who said the request was "based on the seriousness of the charges and his financial circumstances".

Documentation supporting the application was furnished to the court and the GNBCI.

Detective Sergeant Hanley agreed on bail terms with the defence at the first hearing in October.

He did not read out Mr Murphy's address for his security.

Mr Murphy must not contact four people, but they cannot be named for the same reason.

Gardai have seized his passport.

If he takes up bail, he must reside at an address he provided, sign on daily at a garda station, and not apply for a duplicate passport.

He has to provide gardai with a contact phone number within 24 hours of release.

Mr Murphy "made no reply after caution" when charged.

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