A successful businessman has escaped with a fine after been caught with around 80,000 steroids he claimed were for personal use.
Michael Kehoe (aged 27) was caught with the drugs in his home four years ago. He said he had them for himself and would occasionally give them away to friends. The steroids are generally used by athletes and bodybuilders to increase performance.
Kehoe, of Orwell Park, Rathgar, runs two businesses in the fitness industry; The Supplement Store on Camden Street and IrishLifting.com, a website selling specialised gym equipment.
He ran the Pinnacle Fitness Gym on Camden Street up until last November when he sold it. He also organises 'Strongman' competitions in Dublin.
He pleaded guilty to three counts of supplying a medicinal substance other than as prescribed on March 25, 2004 at his then home in Glasnevin Downs, Glasnevin.
Judge Pat McCartan said the drugs clearly had a negative impact on the sporting world but he believed Kehoe had learned his lesson. He fined him €2,000 on each of the three counts with six months in jail if he fails to pay. He also ordered he pay costs to the prosecution of €3,000.
Defence counsel, Peter Keane BL, said his client suffers from Male Body Dysmorphia, a psychiatric disorder where the suffer is obsessed with how their body appears. He said he became part of a "culture of steroid abuse" through the people he was training and mixing with.
Liam Wright of the Irish Medicines Board testified that there was a "commercial quantity" of the drugs and he did not think they were for personal use. He said they would be supplied to athletes in gyms and other sporting organisations.
Mr Wright told Mr Ronan Kennedy BL, prosecuting, that he was present at the search of the house to offer technical assistance to gardaí.
Gardai and Customs Officers got a warrant to search the house where Kehoe was living with his girlfriend. Almost 80,000 tablets were found consisting of six different types of steroids, including 'Angel Dust', 'Pink Thai' and ephedrine.
They also found glass vials, a tablet moulding device, used needles, and price lists for anabolic steroids. There were payment documents relating to purchases from Russia, Pakistan and China and packaging originating from Thailand.
Mr Wright said all these drugs were banned in Ireland and people usually sourced them illegally on the internet. Their total value was estimated at around €20,000.
Kehoe admitted in interview to buying "bodybuilding stuff" online but said it was just for him and his friends.
Mr Keane said his client’s early guilty plea had saved the prosecution a complex trial which faced many technical difficulties. He said Kehoe had no previous convictions and was no longer taking steroids.
He said after dropping out of Computer Science in Dublin City University he worked in fast food restaurants and as a doorman. He then opened up a small gym before starting Irish Lifting which had a turnover of €325,000 last year. Kehoe made an operating profit of €70,000 and drives a distinctive "Hummer" off road vehicle.
Mr Keane said the gym was opened after this offence but he would have spent a lot of time in other gyms at the time.