Man tried to sell drugs to an off-duty garda

A man with a stash of cocaine tried to sell drugs to an off-duty garda in Cork city centre and yesterday he faced the possibility of a jail term for drug dealing.

Detective Sergeant Jason Wallace testified at Cork District Court yesterday that he was working in Cork city centre in the early hours of that morning when he got a call from the off-duty colleague who had detained the suspect, Mark O’Leary. Judge Con O’Leary noted from previous drug-related convictions that O’Leary had never been given a jail sentence. Judge O’Leary asked: “Why would he stop when he walked away so many times?”

Defence solicitor, Eddie Burke, said the defendant had already stopped using drugs and was clear of them for a long period now. He said the incident before the court dated back to October 1, 2016.

Mr Burke said O’Leary, aged 32, was very keen to work and had worked at all kinds of jobs including spells as a golf caddy and a fisherman.

Det Sgt Wallace said the accused handed a bag of cocaine to his off-duty colleague. Later when the defendant was searched he had a number of drugs on his person, including smaller quantities of amphetamine and cannabis.

“He did not admit he was selling the substances but the way they were packaged suggested otherwise,” said Det Sgt Wallace.

O’Leary pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge of having drugs for sale or supply. Inspector Jason Lynch said the accused had a previous conviction for a similar offence in July 2015 and he had a number of convictions for having drugs for his own use. He also had a conviction from March 2017 on a charge of allowing his car to be used in connection with a drug-related offence.

Mr Burke said the defendant’s family in Kinsale were very supportive of him in his efforts to put his life on a better footing.

The defendant spoke up during the sentencing hearing and said he had used cannabis to deal with depression because he did not like to use pharmaceutical products.

Judge O’Leary said O’Leary, of 126 Blarney Street, could do a community service order of 200 hours in lieu of six months in jail.

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