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Suspended sentence Kerry man caught handling stolen phone after attempting to buy drugs avoids jail

David O'Neill (26) told gardai he was thankful they had arrived as he feared the men in the car, whom he had just met, were about to rob him next

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A Kerry man visiting Dublin was handed a stolen mobile phone by a man who had offered to supply him with drugs after the car they were travelling in was stopped by gardai, a court has heard.

David O'Neill (26), who received a suspended sentence for handling stolen property, told gardai he was thankful they had arrived as he feared the men in the car, whom he had just met, were about to rob him next.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard O'Neill was struggling with addiction at the time and had travelled to Dublin to obtain drugs. He has since engaged with rehabilitation and is clean of drugs.

O'Neill, with an address at Baile an Eanaigh, Ballyferriter, Kerry, pleaded guilty to handling a black Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile phone knowing or being reckless as to whether it was stolen at Marrowbone Lane, Dublin 8, on January 15, 2020.

Judge Melanie Greally noted O'Neill was a visitor to Dublin on the morning when he encountered the perpetrators of a robbery, found himself in their car and in possession of a stolen phone.

She noted he had given a full account of how he came to be in the car and was in no way implicated in the robbery but accepts he was in the car and handled the phone at a critical stage.

Judge Greally noted his nine previous convictions were drug related and he had a significant addiction.

She said it seemed this offence has been a trigger for a program of rehabilitation for the young man assisted by his parents which had added stability to his life. She took into account he was working, attending Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and in a stable relationship.

The judge noted the remorse in his letter to the court, that the phone had been returned to the injured party and that he had also brought €900, the value of the phone, to court.

She said she considered his culpability to be at a low level for an offence of this type.

Judge Greally gave him credit for his guilty plea and the fact he had no previous convictions for offences of dishonesty. She took into account his youth and personal circumstances, including difficulties in school and with mental health.

She noted the efforts he has made to address his significant history of addiction.

Judge Greally imposed a nine month sentence which she suspended in full on conditions including that he continue to attend NA and that the €900 be handed over to the injured party or a charity of his choice.

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