By Fiona Ferguson
Paramedics attended to a father of five when he was taken into custody after receiving a four-year jail term for transporting €400,000 worth of heroin in his car while accompanied by his one-year-old daughter, reports Fiona Gerguson.
Karl Brennan (36), who has a heart condition, appeared to be in distress after the sentence was imposed by Judge Melanie Greally at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court and an ambulance was called.
Brennan, described by his family as a caring and responsible father, told gardaí he had acted as a drug courier in order to make money for Christmas. He was caught after gardaí mounted a surveillance operation on his movements.
Brennan, of Harelawn Drive, Ronanstown, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs at Tower Road, Clondalkin on December 10, 2015. He has no previous convictions.
Judge Greally said she had sympathy for people under financial pressure, but becoming involved in the “nefarious business” of moving drugs around the city could not be condoned.
She imposed a six-year sentence and suspended the final two years on strict conditions.
The court heard that the person who had “deposited” the drugs in Brennan’s car was not apprehended.
There was shouting and crying from people in the body of the court after the sentence was imposed with one man shouting at gardaí: “You went after the goldfish and left the salmon alone.”
Detective Garda Ian Pemberton told Anne Marie Lawlor BL, prosecuting, that gardaí mounted an intelligence lead surveillance operation on Brennan’s movements and observed him driving a Nissan Micra to Rathcoole village.
An unknown male carrying a shopping bag was seen going to the passenger side of his car and leaning into the footwell.
Brennan was then seen exiting his car and look at what was there before driving back towards the city.
Gardaí stopped Brennan in Clondalkin village and observed his one-year-old child was in the car with him. They found heroin in three packages concealed in the door panel of the passenger side. Brennan was arrested and an arrangement was made for his father to collect his daughter.
Brennan was interviewed and asked gardaí if it had been a “tip off”. He said he had been “caught red-handed” and needed money to “finish off Christmas.”
He told gardaí he knew it was drugs but did not know how much. He said when he realised how much it was he panicked.
Det Garda Pemberton agreed with Michael Lynn SC, defending, that Brennan co-operated fully with gardaí and had not come to their attention before or since. He agreed Brennan had apologised and that he was not at the top of the “pecking order.”
Mr Lynn asked Det Garda Pemberton if he accepted Brennan received the call to carry out the task while he was already in the car with his daughter. The garda replied that he could not say exactly when the call was received.
Mr Lynn asked if the person who had “deposited” the drugs into Brennan’s car was apprehended.
Det Garda Pemberton said he was not and enquires had been made, but they were unsuccessful.
Mr Lynn submitted a medical report to the court and said Brennan suffered with heart disease and had undergone surgery to insert stents. He said Brennan had been unable to do physical work and was unemployed with limited means.
He said Brennan had previously worked for Coca Cola for 13 years until the factory closed.
Mr Lynn said Brennan had made a grave error in doing what he thought would be of benefit to his children at Christmas. He said his client was a devoted family man who was close to his children.
He handed in testimonials from Brennan family and said they were “deeply distressed” at the position facing him. He submitted there was no reason to think Brennan would re-offend.
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