Man with 152 previous convictions caught with heroin in his home avoids jail
The Court heard that following the search of Patrick Shields’ home, gardaí became aware of “a real and credible” threat to his life
A man who along with his father was assaulted and abducted in the lead-up to gardaí discovering drugs in his home has been given a five-year suspended sentence.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that following the search of Patrick Shields’ (33) home, gardaí became aware of “a real and credible” threat to his life.
Detective Garda Mary Moore agreed with Dean Kelly SC, defending that they were the threats of “sinister” people that sensible people would take seriously.
The detective agreed that although Shields took a bench warrant shortly after his arrest and fled to the UK, he returned from there seven years later, made an appointment to execute the warrant and had not come to garda attention since.
Mr Kelly told Judge Pauline Codd that his client had lost a “trifling” amount of drugs, the value of which was “vastly overstated” by certain people and he came under “substantial and serious threat”.
Counsel said his client and his father were both assaulted and abducted in the lead-up to the offence and the family home was also attacked.
He said these matters were never reported to gardaí, as what could be further visited on his client and his family “made such a step unthinkable”.
Shields, with an address at Beau Park Street, Clongriffin, pleaded guilty to possession of heroin for sale or supply at his address on October 6, 2013. The total value of the heroin was €34,044.
He has 152 previous convictions in this jurisdiction, including convictions for possession of drugs for sale or supply and road traffic offences. He also has nine convictions in the UK, including convictions for burglary and handling stolen goods.
Passing sentence, Judge Codd accepted that Shields has not come to garda attention since and took responsibility for the drugs after the house was searched.
She accepted that he had been targeted by the gang with whom he was dealing and his family ultimately became “collateral damage”.
Judge Codd said it had been Shields “own decision to involve himself in the drug industry for financial gain” but acknowledged that a significant time has since passed during which he has self-rehabilitated.
She imposed a five-year sentence which she suspended in full to encourage Shields to continue with his rehabilitation.
“He seems to have put his criminality behind him,” Judge Codd commented, before she added that if there is “any relapse” Shields will serve the five years.
At a previous sentencing hearing, Det Gda Moore told Garret Baker BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, gardaí executed a search warrant they obtained on foot of confidential information.
Det Gda Moore said gardaí gained entry by force through the front door and during the search found heroin in the wardrobe of the accused mother's bedroom. The total value of the heroin was €34,044.
Shields returned to the house after receiving a call from his mother and took responsibility for the drugs. He told gardaí that as far as he knew, the drugs were mostly comprised of a mixing agent as he had been told this by a third party.
The court heard that Shields took a bench warrant in relation to this offence and had been residing in the UK until returning to this jurisdiction in 2020.
Mr Kelly said his client deemed the threat to be at an end and returned to Ireland in 2020 after a certain individual was shot dead.
Counsel said that in the last four years, his client could be described as “a reformed character”. He said his client works as a janitor in a hospital and is completely free of drugs.
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