Seat-belt stop leads to seizure of €5,000 worth of cannabis
By Declan Brennan
A man was caught with nearly €5,000 worth of cannabis when a garda stopped him for not wearing his seat-belt, a court has heard.
Judge Martin Nolan told Joseph Smith (27) “you should wear your seat belt” before suspending a prison sentence of three years.
Smith, of Beverly Crescent, Knocklyon, Dublin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis for sale or supply on March 23, 2016.
Garda Alan Murray told the court that he was on mobile patrol when he spotted Smith driving a black BMW without his seat belt on.
He followed the car up to Beverly Crescent where it stopped.
He told Smith he had seen him driving without his seat belt on but Smith initially denied this. Garda Murray then asked to see his licence and insurance policy and Smith went into his house to get these.
The garda then spotted a holdall in the front passenger footwell of the car and saw a clear bag of cannabis herb sticking out on top of this.
When Smith came back the garda seized the holdall and found three bags of cannabis and an electronic weighing scales.
The drugs had an estimated street value of €4,760.
Smith told the gardai: “I’m holding it for a few hours. It’s not mine. One hundred per cent.”
Defending him, Sarah Jane O’Callaghan BL, said that this was a “particularly unlucky day” for her client.
She said at the time he had built up a drug debt of €3,000 because of a cocaine addiction.
Counsel said he was now drug-free. She said the day of the offence turned out to be the best day of her client’s life because he had since turned his life around.
Judge Nolan said he could accept it was unlikely that Smith would re-offend in this way and that he wouldn’t be justified in imprisoning him immediately.
He suspended the sentence for three years on condition that Smith be of good behaviour for that period.