During the sentencing hearing Judge Mary Ellen Ring asked the prosecuting counsel to explain to the class from Tallaght Community School how the men’s drug habit led to them being forced to transport the drugs and that they were now facing up to life imprisonment.
After hearing the evidence Judge Ring imposed a seven-year sentence on each man but suspended five years on condition they visit a school or youth group at least once a year for five years to give a talk on the dangers of drug abuse.
Brian Kavanagh, aged 27, of St Mochta’s Green, Clonsilla, and Peter Murray, aged 27, of Belgree Heights, Tyrelstown, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale or supply of over 10kg of heroin on Aug 16, 2011, at a petrol station on the N7.
Judge Ring noted that the schoolchildren had heard in court how both men were casual users of cocaine and cannabis but that this led to them running up debts and being forced to transport the heroin.
“Drugs is a business that considers many people’s lives expendable in the pursuit of greater and greater profit,” she said. “Drugs destroy lives and communities and society is justified in dealing out some of the harshest measures in relation to drug dealing.”
Judge Ring said she accepted neither man knew the quantity or type of drug they were transporting and that the owners of the heroin had “thrown them under a bus”.
She also praised the Garda National Drugs Unit, saying they “serve the country to the highest standards and that is not always recognised”.
Det Garda Dave McKinley told Karen O’Connor, prosecuting, that gardaí received a tip-off that led to them searching a car after it pulled into a petrol station on the N7. Murray was driving and Kavanagh was a passenger.
The search uncovered 12 slabs of heroin in a holdall bag in the boot. The men admitted responsibility for the drugs but Murray refused to reveal their source because he feared for the safety of his partner and child.
The court heard both men have no previous convictions. They both have partners and are the fathers of young children.
The detective agreed with Michael O’Higgins, defending Kavanagh, and Paul Greene, defending Murray, that both men are unlikely to trouble gardaí again.