Judge orders psychological assessment of teen who sold death-case drug

A Cork teenager yesterday faced sentencing for selling a psychoactive drug. The case arose out of the investigation into the death of a schoolboy in Cork.

The accused cannot be identified, as he is a juvenile.

Michael Cornacchia, aged 16, was found unconscious by his mother, in a room at their terraced home at Deermount in Deerpark, Cork, at 10am on January 16 last.

Jane Hyland, prosecution barrister, told Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “The death of the young man was caused directly by the sale of the psychoactive substance.”

Defence senior counsel, James O’Mahony, said he did not want to be upsetting the family of the deceased, but he said he did not accept that the crime to which the accused boy pleaded guilty was the direct cause of the death.

Judge Gerard O’Brien noted that the accused was pleading guilty to sale or supply of the psychoactive drug, U47700.

The judge added: “The consequence that flowed from the sale of this drug was the death of a 16-year-old boy.”

The judge said he wanted a full psychological assessment of the accused before sentencing.

“I need to know why he went so far off the rails,” he said.

The accused was remanded in continuing detention, until November 13, for that purpose.

The substances, namely U47700, had also been associated with the death of rock star Prince.

Det Garda Darragh Murray said a witness, who was a friend of the deceased, said they both had taken a substance which they believed was cocaine. They had snorted two or three lines of it.

They acquired an eighth-of-an-ounce or 3.5gms, estimated to cost €200. Traces of U47700 drug, commonly referred to as U4, were confirmed and were seven-and-a-half times stronger than morphine.

Det Garda Murray said the accused stated he believed what he had sold was cocaine.

The teenager admitted sale or supply of a psychoactive substance, namely U47700, to another person, knowing or being reckless as to whether that substance was being acquired for human consumption.

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