'enormous control' | 

Woman who stored €47k drugs for her ex partner who is a ‘violent’ criminal avoids jail

He accepted that this man had “enormous control” over O Connor and that she was in great fear of him.

Clare O Connor. Photo: Collins

Sonya McLean

A woman who agreed to allow drugs to be stored in her home because she was under the control of her violent partner has been given a four-year suspended sentence.

Clare O Connor (35) of the Horizon Building, Ashtown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to have various drugs at her home, with a total street value of €47, 407, on November 17, 2019.

She has a previous conviction for bringing drugs to her partner in Mountjoy prison the previous year.

Garda Brian O’Toole agreed with Anne Marie Lawlor SC, defending, that at the time of her arrest O Connor was in a relationship with a violent offender, who had been jailed for 11 years in 2018 for conspiracy to commit murder.

He accepted that this man had “enormous control” over O Connor and that she was in great fear of him.

Gda O’Toole further accepted a suggestion from Ms Lawlor that O Connor was “prevailed upon by him” to bring the drugs into Mountjoy prison.

He agreed that O Connor felt herself that she had no option but to make her home available to this man to have drugs stored there.

Gda O’Toole acknowledged that O Connor “no longer has any dealings with this man” and agreed that he does not expect to see O Connor before the courts again.

Gda O’Toole told Pieter Le Vert BL, prosecuting, that gardaí secured a warrant to search O Connor’s home on foot of a tip off. She was there with her three children at the time and “co-operated with the gardaí through the whole process”.

The apartment was searched and various drugs were found in different locations, including in a sock in the water tank in the hot press and in a school bag in a locked shed on the balcony.

O Connor later admitted that she had agreed to mind the drugs in the apartment for a day.

She said some of the cannabis found was hers as she smoked it to help ease sciatica.

Gda O’Toole confirmed that 300g of heroin was discovered with a street value €42,784, various tablets worth €2,880, cannabis worth €360, cannabis resin worth €291 and 62 MDMA tablets worth €620.

Ms Lawlor told the court that her client has two children of her own but has also been the carer for her children’s 10-year-old cousin since that child was a new born.

She said that this child has “very profound special needs” and is heavily reliant on O Connor, adding that if her client went to prison it would be to the “huge detriment” of this little girl.

Ms Lawlor asked Judge Martin Nolan to accept that her client had “an identifiable real fear by a person who had proven himself to be capable of violence”.

Judge Nolan acknowledged that O Connor fully co-operated with the gardaí and accepted that she was holding the drugs for third parties.

He accepted evidence that she was “a very good carer to this child and the child depends on the affection and love of this defendant” before he suspended a four-year term of imprisonment.

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