Search warrant in €1m heroin case was not legal, judge rules

Search warrant in €1m heroin case was not legal, judge rules

A man who was facing trial for possession of over €1m in heroin has had his case dismissed after a judge ruled a search warrant was not legal.

In a judgement delivered at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Mary Ellen Ring ruled that a search warrant granted to carry out a search on the home of Stephen Reddington (aged 30) was not in accordance with law.

The judge said the fact that Garda surveillance had observed known drug users frequenting the house was not reasonable grounds on its own as drug clinics are also frequented by known drug users.

She also noted that there was no inquiry made by the district court judge as to the reliability of the confidential information received by Garda Kevin Dingley.

The court heard that the warrant was granted at Dublin District Court by Judge John Lindsay on the basis of sworn information given by Gda Dingley.

Under Section 26 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977 a search warrant can be granted by a district court judge if the court is satisfied there are reasonable grounds for suspicion that illegal drugs are present in the home.

Garda Dingley told the district court that he had grounds for suspecting the presence of drugs in a house on Wheatfield Avenue, Clondalkin as a result of on going investigations into the distribution of illegal drugs in the Clondalkin area.

He said he had received information from a source that a male there was in possession of heroin.

He said he carried out surveillance of the house and observed known drugs users coming in and out of the house.

Mr Reddington of Wheatfield Avenue, Clondalkin was facing trial on six drugs-related offences. He was charged with possession for sale or supply of €1,002,780 of heroin at his home on November 11, 2011.

His trial was set for December, but earlier this month his defence counsel, led by Padraig Dwyer SC, brought an application to dismiss the charges on the basis there was insufficient evidence.

Mr Reddington was also charged with possession of 2533.5 grammes of phenacetin, 9590.2 grammes of caffeine and 1956.1 grammes of lignocaine for their alleged use in a drug trafficking offence, contrary to section 183(1)(b) of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

Judge Ring granted the defence application after ruling that she is not satisfied that the search warrant was granted in accordance with law.


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