A long-term heroin addict who was in heavy debt to drugs criminals has been given an 11-year sentence in consecutive terms by Judge Katherine Delahunt for possessing two stashes of heroin within 14 months.
Christopher Devine (aged 41) was selling the second cache to pay back his "debt" to the owners of a €24,000 stash that his sister Susan (aged 37) had taken from her bra cup and handed to gardaí who had stopped their car near their home on Fortlawn Avenue, in Clonsilla on January 4, 2006
He told gardaí he had collected the parcel from the roadside but would not say whom he had taken it from for fear that "my head would be blown off".
The second cache, worth €7,597, was found buried in jars in the back garden of the family home just over a year later, on February 8, 2007, while he was on bail for the first seizure.
Devine pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the heroin for sale or supply. He had 42 previous convictions, which included a number of drug offences.
Judge Delahunt said that she accepted that Devine had not made a profit from possession of the drugs ad that he had got involved because of his own addiction.
She took into account that Devine had made full admission and had tried to rehabilitate before she suspended the last three years of the sentence.
Garda Olive Crowe said Devine had trained as a counsellor in an attempt to try to assist other drug addicts, even though he had been taking heroin himself at the time.
Devine told gardai in January 2006 he had been addicted to heroin for 15 years and Gda Fogarty agreed with defence counsel, Mr Michael O’Higgins SC (with Mr Seamus Clarke BL), that he was injecting two to three bags of the drug a day at the time of his arrest.
Garda Fogarty described Devine as "a likeable character" and accepted that his life showed no evidence of financial gain. The only reward he got from selling drugs was that his own habit was being "looked after".
She agreed with Mr O’Higgins that Devine probably had begun selling the second haul of heroin to try and clear the money he "owed" for the confiscation of the first lot.
"If he could manage to stay clean, he could be a useful member of society," garda Fogarty said.
Mr O’Higgins told Judge Delahunt that a psychological report indicated that Devine suffered from depression having been treated very violently as a child by his father and then by his stepfather.
Mr Clarke submitted that Devine had managed to wean himself off heroin, having attended a residential drug treatment centre and was now free of drugs.