Women ‘carriers’ panicked when they saw white powder

By Brion Hoban

Two women who believed they were transporting a small amount of cannabis were caught in possession of around €34,000 worth of cocaine, a court heard.

Carley O’Connor (31) of Landen Road, Ballyfermot, and Gemma Reilly (27) of Brairfield Road, Kilbarrack, both pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at the Outer Ring Road, Clondalkin, on November 24, 2017.

Criminal Courts of Justice 2 resized

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court

While passing sentence on Tuesday, Judge Martin Nolan said that it was felt that the “big drug-pushers” were not getting severe enough sentences and that was why Section 15a of the Misuse of Drugs Act was brought in for cases involving drugs worth more than €13,000.

Judge Nolan said that the court has dealt with many Section 15a cases over the years and it was never the people who owned the drugs that came before the court.

 

He said that mostly the people before the court were desperate for money or the alleviation of a debt.

He said that while both accused did involve themselves in the transport of drugs, there was a low level of culpability in the case. He noted that both pleaded guilty, made admissions, co-operated with gardai, had no criminal record and contributed to their community.

Judge Nolan sentenced both O’Connor and Reilly to three years imprisonment, but suspended both sentences in their entirety on condition both women keep the peace and be of good behaviour for three years.

Garda Niall McGrath told Antonia Boyle BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question he was an observer in a patrol car when he noticed a man hand a bag through the window of a Ford Mondeo.

Gda McGrath said he followed the car which began to drive erratically. After stopping the car which contained the two accused, gardai discovered a black plastic bag containing cocaine in the glove compartment.

In an interview with gardai, both women said they had been asked to transport a small amount of cannabis to Dundalk and would receive €300 in payment. They said that after checking the bag and seeing it contained white powder, they panicked and considered getting rid of it.

The total value of the cocaine was €34,489. Neither O’Connor nor Reilly have any previous convictions.

Garda McGrath told Lorcan Staines SC, defending Reilly, that he found the explanation that both women thought they were transporting cannabis and then opened the bag “credible”. He agreed Reilly was an “extremely decent” person to deal with after her arrest.

He agreed with Seamus Clarke SC, defending O’Connor, that his client was a carer for her mother and that at a young age she ended up effectively raising her siblings.

Mr Staines said the prosecution accepted that his client was caught the only time she had ever done this. He said his client had lost her job as a result of the offence.

Mr Clarke said both women “were essentially pawns for the slaughter”. He said his client had been enticed to get involved because she had a debt with a credit union.

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