Dealer found guilty despite claiming drugs worth €2 each

A DRUG dealer’s claim that ecstasy tablets were being sold for €2 or less was rejected by a jury which returned a unanimous guilty verdict after more than an hour of deliberation.

John Heaphy, aged 55, from 59 Kerryhall Road, Fairhill, Cork, was caught with more than 4,700 ecstasy tablets and admitted certain drugs charges but he denied he had ecstasy with a value of €13,000 or more.

The significance of this count is that it carries on conviction a sentence of up to life imprisonment with a minimum mandatory term of 10 years.

Addressing members of the jury before they retired to consider their verdict, Judge Patrick J Moran reminded them that Heaphy admitted selling drugs but did not accept the State’s valuation of the drugs.

The prosecution was ready to proceed to sentencing yesterday but defence barrister Donal McCarthy asked for the matter to be put back until October 31 to see if there was any prospect of rehabilitation for Heaphy and for preparation of a probation report.

Judge Moran remanded Heaphy in custody until October 31 for sentencing.

Four ecstasy users who were in jail for various crimes gave evidence during the trial of the street value of the drug hitting a rock bottom price of €2 per tablet.

Heaphy admitted at Cork Circuit Criminal Court that he had MDMA, better known as ecstasy, and that he was in possession of the drug for the purpose of selling or supplying it to others at Rathpeacon, near the Old Mallow Road on the outskirts of Cork city, on Saturday, December 14, 2007.

Heaphy claimed that the 4,735 ecstasy tablets which he had concealed in two Maxwell House coffee jars in a cushion in a field were worth less than €13,000.

Defence witnesses said ecstasy could be bought at a cost of €20 for 10 and that one could not buy less than 10 at a time.

However, Detective Chief Superintendent Tony Quilter of the Garda National Drugs Unit and Detective Sergeant Lar O’Brien both testified that the street value per tablet was €10.

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