Man told court he found €14,000 of cocaine near apartment bins

Declan Garnett (46) said he found drugs in shopping bag and brought them home

The man asked the judge not to impose a custodial sentence but to consider the crime an error of judgement and a one-off offence.

The man asked the judge not to impose a custodial sentence but to consider the crime an error of judgement and a one-off offence.

 

A Dublin family man who claimed he found almost €14,000 of cocaine near his apartment complex bins will be sentenced next year.

The court heard father-of-three Declan Garnett (46) told gardaí he found the drugs in a shopping bag, brought them home and hid them in his wife’s jacket.

He said that he had them for up to three days and did not know what to do with them.

Garnett, of Hampton Wood Road, Finglas, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing 198 grammes of cocaine worth €13,923 at his home on December 6th, 2016. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Cathal Connolly told Genevieve Coonan BL, prosecuting, that he and colleagues raided Garnett’s home on foot of a warrant.

Gda Connolly agreed with Paul Comiskey O’Keeffe BL, defending, that he found no trappings of wealth, no drugs paraphernalia, no tick lists and no cash at Garnett’s home.

Mr Comiskey O’Keeffe submitted to Judge Karen O’Connor that his client had no secondary school education but had worked hard all his life.

He asked the judge not to impose a custodial sentence but to consider the crime an error of judgement and a one-off offence.

He handed in employment testimonials and letters from his family, including one from his wife who described him as “an ordinary man”.

Judge O’Connor received the hand-written letters, but said she was “shocked” to see contributions from two of Garnett’s children.

She said it was “very ill-advised” for young children to be putting pen to paper in this way and added that those letters “hold no sway” with her.

The judge noted that this was the highest level drugs offence in its category and carried a maximum life sentence.

She adjourned the matter for a probation report to help her structure a sentence but warned that this did not indicate a non-custodial outcome.

She said she wanted to send a message to all legal practitioners “loudly and clearly” that she never wanted to receive a letter from a child in court proceedings like this again.

She adjourned the matter to January 26th.