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Irish gold medal boxer pleads guilty after being caught with over €1,000 worth of cannabis

“He told the Garda it (cannabis) was his and he was going to divide it between his friends,” Sgt Prendergast said.

Gabriel Dossen

Sunday World

European gold medal boxing champion, Gabriel Dossen, was caught red-handed in the back of a taxi last year with over €1,000 worth of cannabis.

The 22-year-old amateur boxer was also found in possession of €645 cash, which he handed over to Garda Dave O’Connell when he told him he was going to search him for drugs.

Dossen pleaded guilty before Galway District Court this week to the possession of €1,072 worth of cannabis and to a second charge of having it for sale or supply to others at Cartur Mór, Knocknacarra, Galway, on March 7 last year.

The business studies student, with an address at Cartur Mór, also pleaded guilty to a separate charge of having €20 worth of cannabis herb in his possession when stopped and searched on July 31 last year at Fr Griffin Road.

Sergeant Damien Prendergast, prosecuting, told the court Garda O’Connell was on patrol in the Cartur Mór area on March 7 last year when he observed a man acting suspiciously in the back of a taxi. He stopped the car and spoke to the passenger who became agitated after getting out of the taxi. Garda O’Connell told Dossen he was going to search him and Dossen then handed two plastic bags containing the cannabis to the Garda along with €645 cash.

“He told the Garda it (cannabis) was his and he was going to divide it between his friends,” Sgt Prendergast said.

Five months later Garda Brian Loughlin stopped Dossen at Fr Griffin Road on July 31 last year after getting a strong smell of cannabis emanating from him. Dossen handed over €20 worth of cannabis herb to Garda Loughlin during a drugs search.

Sgt Prendergast confirmed Dossen had six previous convictions, the most recent being from Athlone on March 2 last when he was fined €200 for the possession of drugs, while a second charge for possession was taken into account.

Dossen, he said, was convicted at Galway District Court on February 7 last for possession of drugs, and received a 150-hour community service order in lieu of a five-month prison term for a drug dealing offence on the same date. The possession charge was taken into account, he added.

“Other than dabbling in drugs, does he do anything else, Mr Martin?,” Judge Mary Fahy asked Dossen’s solicitor.

“He’s quite a talented athlete. He won a gold medal at the European Boxing Championships, which got publicised at the time,” Mr Martin replied.

Handing a letter from Dossen’s boxing coach into court, the solicitor said all of the offences were from 18 to 12 months ago.

“It seems to have been a very major blip, but something he got caught up in. But since then, he has started to put his life back on track, has been training hard and has achieved great things in boxing,” the solicitor said in mitigation.

“Drugs were something he got involved in and now he realises his mistake and has always held his hands up.

“I advised him there were flaws in the prosecution evidence (meaning it could have been contested) but he wanted to plead guilty to all matters from the ‘get-go’”, Mr Martin said.

He said Dossen had completed the Prime for Life course “off his own bat” and had clean toxicology results.

In reply to Judge Fahy, he said Dossen had completed 80 to 90 hours of the community service order so far, adding his client was doing a level 8 business course in college.

“He’s on track to compete in the Paris Olympic Games too and is on the road to a professional boxing career,” Mr Martin added.

He said the charges before the court were recorded on the front page of a Sunday newspaper. “It’s forcing him to deal with this embarrassment. He will definitely not to be seen here again,” he said.

Judge Mary Fahy said it was disappointing.

Mr Martin agreed, adding his client had such promise.

“But it’s disappointing that at that level of professional sports - that he would think it was okay,” the solicitor said.

Judge Fahy asked was it friends who were to blame.

Mr Martin said there had definitely been a bad influence but his client had moved on from that.

Judge Fahy said Dossen had already reached the threshold for a prison sentence having already gotten a community service order for a previous drug dealing charge.

Imposing a six-month sentence which she suspended for two years for the drug dealing charge, on condition Dossen be of good behaviour and not reoffend during that time, the judge said that while the value of the drugs was not large it was still a serious offence. She ordered the destruction of the cannabis and the forfeiture of the cash to the State, pending any appeal.

She took the accompanying drug possession charge into account, and imposed a €100 fine on Dossen for being found in possession of the cannabis herb at Fr Griffin Road. Leave to appeal the convictions was granted along with free legal aid.

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