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up in smoke Man's ashy hands 'led gardaí to cocaine and tablets hidden in fireplace', court hears


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GARDAÍ found nearly €3,000 of cocaine and tablets hidden in a fireplace at a house after they saw a man walking away with hands "covered in black ash", it is alleged.

John Paul O'Connor (39) is accused of having more cocaine on him following the house search in west Dublin.

The case at Blanchardstown District Court was adjourned by Judge Gerard Jones.

Mr O'Connor, of Foxdene Avenue in Clondalkin, is charged with three counts of possession of drugs with intent to sell or supply.

The offences are alleged to have happened at an address at Old Tower Crescent in Clondalkin on March 8, 2018.

Garda Sergeant Maria Callaghan told the judge the DPP had consented to the case being dealt with summarily in the district court, subject to the issue of jurisdiction being considered.

Judge Jones asked for a summary of the prosecution's case.

Sgt Callaghan said gardaí were carrying out a search at the address on the day in question when they entered the living room and saw the accused walking away from the fireplace.

His hands were covered in black ash and when gardaí searched the fireplace, they found two bags of white powder and a tub containing 41 tablets, it was alleged.

Mr O'Connor was arrested and, in a further search, a smaller bag of white powder was found on his person, Sgt Callaghan said.

The drugs were tested and the white powder was found to be cocaine, while the tablets were tranquillisers.

The cocaine from the fireplace was worth more than €2,800 and the tablets had a value of €41. The powder found on the accused's person was worth more than €200.

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The total value of the drugs found was more than €3,100, Sgt Callaghan said.

Judge Jones said he was accepting jurisdiction.

He adjourned the case to a date in July, ordering disclosure of prosecution documents to the defence.

The judge also granted free legal aid following an application by the accused's solicitor John O'Doherty, who said Mr O'Connor was not working. There was no garda objection.

The accused was not required to be in court for the brief hearing and was remanded on continuing bail in his absence. He has not yet indicated how he intends to plead to the charges.

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