bad timing  | 

Man sentenced after 18 people turn up at his house to buy drugs while he was being raided by gardaí

Mr Lawless was at his family home when gardaí and his customers showed up at the same time

Robert Lawless (42), of Weaver Street, Dublin 8, leaving court after he received a suspended sentence. PIC: Collins Courts

By Sonya McLean & Brion Hoban

A man who had 18 callers to his home looking to buy cocaine while gardaí were searching his house for drugs has received a fully suspended sentence.

Robert Lawless (42) was in the home he shared with his mother and brother when gardaí arrived with a warrant to search it. Officers discovered 65 separate deals of cocaine during the search and two separate amounts of cash of €605 and €105 were also found.

Lawless took responsibility for the drugs. The court heard 18 people called to the house while the gardaí were there looking to buy drugs.

A month later more drugs were found during a second raid of Lawless’ home.

Lawless of Weaver Street, The Coombe, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine, worth an estimated €1,440 at his home on January 15, 2020. He further pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine worth €1,960 again at his home on February 16, 2020.

He has previous convictions for possession of drugs of sale or supply.

Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case after hearing evidence last month to allow for the preparation of various reports.

Today she said Lawless had “very limited opportunities” growing up and developed an addiction to alcohol at a young age.

The judge said he subsequently developed a heroin addiction he managed to overcome. She said it does appear there was a drug debt in the background which was motivating his behaviour.

Judge Greally sentenced Lawless to 18 months imprisonment for the offence in January 2020, but suspended the entirety of the sentence on strict conditions.

She adjourned sentencing for the offence in February 2020 for 12 months to July 21, 2022. She ordered an updated probation report and said in the event of a “resounding report” of engagement and his not coming to any adverse attention, she will consider adopting a similar approach.

Garda Brian Quinn told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that he was involved in the second search of Lawless’ home during which €1,960 worth of cocaine and a small amount of cannabis and heroin were found. He said Lawless also had €530 “on his person”.

Lawless was arrested the following July when another small amount of cannabis was found on him. He took responsibility for the drugs found in both searches but claimed they were for his personal use.

Gda Quinn agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that Lawless was on bail for the first offence when the second raid was carried out on his home.

He accepted he had a drug problem at the time but has since “maintained on methadone” and has not come to garda attention again. Gda Quinn said Lawless looked better in court than he did at the time of his arrest.

Mr Spencer said his client did not find much gainful employment after drink and drugs took hold. He said his client is now drug free for 17 months.

Counsel urged the court not to imprison his client, saying this was the first occasion in which he has meaningfully addressed his long-standing drug addiction.

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