Judge Donagh McDonagh said yesterday he would not differentiate between the four links in the supply of drugs. After spending two nights in jail, each of the accused got a three-year sentence suspended for five years.
The judge noted that the two deceased — Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey, both aged 22 — had both contacted one of the accused to get an ecstasy drug known as Mandy, which turned out to be a combination of MDMA and PMMA.
“Looking at the whole episode, all four formed links in a chain of supply; the request came from the two deceased.
“In the event, the combination turned out to be a lethal combination. The authorities quickly realised they were dealing with a drug combination which was out of the ordinary by any standards. By excellent police work, all four were quickly apprehended and they co-operated with the gardaí from the outset,” the judge said, paying tribute to Detective Garda Jason Wallace for his fair presentation of the background.
Michael Coleman and Liam Coffey were found dead at a rented house at Abbey Lane in Kinsale on September 10, 2012, sparking a major investigation into the source of the fatal consignment, and an unprecedented campaign to get the batch off the streets.
David McGrath, aged 25, and John O’Dwyer, aged 26, both with an address at 23 Roman St, Cork; David Maguire, aged 31, of 8 Harley Court, Togher, Cork; and Victoria McCormack, aged 22, of Cornmill apartments, Connell St, Cork, all pleaded guilty to a drug supply charge arising out of the case. They had no previous convictions, except for Maguire who had two convictions for drug supply.
Judge McDonagh said: “I accept that all four accused in this case have been profoundly affected by the tragedy which resulted from their actions. It has been submitted that they are at low risk of re-offending.”
Both deceased were pronounced dead by a local GP at Mr Coleman’s rented house. The GP, paramedics and gardaí had been called by Mr Coleman’s girlfriend Ciara Drummey after both men took ill after ingesting the lethal mixture of MDMA and PMMA.
Det Garda Wallace said that all four defendants were unaware at the time that the mixture contained PMMA, which is slower acting than MDMA but highly toxic.
Barristers for the four accused expressed deep remorse to the families of the dead men for the parts they played in supplying the drugs. Ben Shorten, BL, quoted his client, O’Dwyer’s comment to gardaí: “I hate that I played a part in this. I was too stupid and blind to think anything bad could happen.”
Donal McCarthy, BL, acknowledged that Maguire had previous convictions but said he had played a very unusual and exceptional role in co-operating with gardaí, not in naming others, but in ensuring that a larger quantity of the fatal drug was in effect surrendered to gardaí.