Pain management | 

Rugby player caught with cannabis worth €10k built up debt using drug to treat injury pain

Darragh Kelly (23) of Sutton, Dublin received a suspended 15-month prison term

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

Declan BrennanSunday World

A student rugby player built up a drug debt from using cannabis to manage pain from an injury, a court has heard.

Darragh Kelly (23) of Sarto Lawns, Sutton, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawful possession for sale or supply of cannabis at James Larkin Road, Raheny, Dublin 17 on April 7, 2020.

Kelly was caught by gardai with two bags of cannabis with an estimated street value of €9,804.

Defending counsel Keith Spencer BL told the court that Kelly had built up a drug debt of €4,000 by using cannabis as a form of pain management. He said Kelly came under threats and because of these he agreed to move the drugs from one place to another.

He was a 21 year old student at the time living at home with his parents and was smoking cannabis, the court heard. Mr Spencer said Kelly was involved in playing rugby at “quite a high level” until he was injured and left rugby.

He said Kelly's difficulties arose after he left the sport but that he is back coaching now.

Judge Melanie Greally said that Kelly was not profiting from his actions but was trying to reduce a significant drug debt. She noted a number of character references provided in support of Kelly.

She noted the absence of previous convictions, the strong family support and a good employment history. She also noted he has taken positive steps to address his cannabis use.

She imposed a 15-month prison term but suspended it entirely on condition he keep the peace and be of good behaviour.

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