DPP drops charge over €2.5m of ecstasy

The State has dropped a charge of possession of €2.5m worth of ecstasy against a man in light of last week’s Court of Appeal ruling.

The accused, who was also found with a similar amount of cannabis, had pleaded guilty to possessing more than 250,000 ecstasy tablets for sale or supply in 2013.

Yesterday, counsel for the DPP asked the court to withdraw the ecstasy charge and proceed solely on the cannabis counts. Tony McGillicuddy, prosecuting, said the move was due to the “Bederev judgment” in which the appeal court issued a ruling that ecstasy and other drugs were unconstitutionally banned.

Gary Byrne, aged 42, of Belcamp Gardens, Coolock, Dublin, pleaded guilty to possession of a total of €2.52m worth of cannabis resin and cannabis herb at Rosemount Business Park in Ballycoolin and North West Business Centre in Blanchardstown in June 2013. He will be sentenced on Thursday by Judge Patricia Ryan at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

He has a previous conviction for stealing Rohypnol from a pharmaceutical firm he previously worked for.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday, Mr McGillicuddy presented evidence from the Garda National Drugs Unit that Byrne was the subject of surveillance on June 4, 2013.

Gardaí followed his van to a lock-up in Ballycoolin. Officers waited for Byrne to leave before arresting him and searching the unit where they found cannabis and ecstasy. The 78kgs of cannabis found had a street value of €1.55m.

At another lock-up used by Byrne in Blanchardstown, gardaí

found just under €1m worth of cannabis herb and resin and a vacuum packing machine and weighing scales. Byrne admitted renting the unit. He said he was addicted to Snow Blow and cocaine and was holding the drugs for others to repay a debt and fund his addiction.

Michael O’Higgins, defending, said his client is a good prospect for rehabilitation and asked the judge not to impose the presumptive mandatory minimum 10-year term.


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