Limerick Circuit Court Judge Carroll Moran said it would be wrong to send Brian Carberry, 31, of Moran Drive, Drimnagh, Dublin, to prison because of his “unfortunate mental health”.
Carberry pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with an estimated street value of €200,000 at Ballycummin, Dooradoyle, Limerick on April 4, 2008.
Ten days after he entered the guilty plea at Limerick Circuit Court in December 2008, he was found lying by the side of the road in Dublin after being viciously assaulted.
At his sentencing hearing yesterday evidence was heard that Carberry suffered an extensive brain injury in the attack and is incapable of independent living since.
Evidence was heard that the cocaine addict had travelled by taxi from Dublin to Limerick in April 2008 with the heroin in the boot of the car.
In his evidence Detective Garda Pat Whelan said the defendant had acted as courier for a man referred to in court as Mr X and that he was to receive one ounce of cocaine as payment.
Detective Garda Whelan agreed that Carberry was not on the Garda radar prior to this offence.
Defence counsel Andrew Sexton SC described the case as “tragic” and said his client was both a perpetrator and a victim who has never recovered from the injuries he suffered in the “vicious” assault.
In a medical report prepared for the court, consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Stephen Monks, of the Central Mental Hospital, described the accused as a “vulnerable individual” who would not be able to live in prison.
Dr Monks said the 30-year-old did not have the cognitive ability for independent living and the only solution for him was to live in long-term care as he needs professional support and is dependent on others for assistance in daily life.
Before imposing sentence Judge Moran said it was an “exceptional a case as you could get”.
He imposed a four-year suspended jail sentence, which he suspended for four years.