A Cork club hurler caught bringing over €750,000 of cocaine into Dublin Airport from Brazil has been jailed for five years, writes Fiona Ferguson.
Cian Leahy (26) wrote a letter of apology to the court in which he described how during his time on remand in Cloverhill Prison he had seen the damage done by drugs and said he was grateful that the cocaine he was transporting never hit the streets.
Leahy of Waterloo House, Blarney, Co Cork, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at Dublin Airport on June 27, 2016. He has five minor previous convictions.
Judge Martin Nolan noted Leahy's shame and remorse for his actions. He said Leahy must have known he was participating in a serious crime but noted in mitigation he was unlikely to re-offend.
Judge Nolan imposed a five year sentence which he backdated to when Leahy went into custody.
Garda Nicola Duffy told Karl Finnegan BL, prosecuting, that Leahy, who had travelled from Brazil via Paris, was stopped by customs officials acting on confidential information and a search of his suitcase revealed packages concealed in the lining of four rucksacks.
The total amount of cocaine discovered weighed 10.9 kilograms and had a value of €763,000.
Leahy initially told gardai he had been in Brazil on holidays and was approached by a man in a bar who asked him if he wanted to make some extra money. He later revealed the purpose of the trip had been to transport the cocaine and it was not a chance meeting. He was to be paid €10,000.
He told gardai he thought he had been asked because he had no convictions and did not look like he was involved in drugs. He said the money was for his family and told gardai his father was ill and might require surgery.
Gda Duffy agreed with Tom Creed SC, defending, that gardai were aware from their own intelligence who was involved in sending his client out to Brazil. She agreed Leahy was effectively a courier and took responsibility for his own role.
Mr Creed handed in a psychiatric report and psychologist's report. He said that Leahy was a psychologically vulnerable and easily lead young man with a tendency to be impulsive and unlikely to consider the consequences of his actions. He has struggled with depression.
He said Leahy had moved around a lot as a young man but settled in Blarney where he became an accomplished hurler. He represented Cork at underage and minor level and won an All Ireland Medal at intermediate club level.
Mr Creed handed in a number of references on his client's behalf which described Leahy as a pleasant, helpful and kind young man who was also a dedicated hurler. He said Leahy had carried out charity work in prison and raised money for several organisations.
Counsel handed in a letter from Leahy himself which outlined his sincere apologies and said this would be the last time he would be before the courts.