A former Trinity College student who sold cannabis grass to his friends in order to help him pay his way through college has been given a three year suspended sentence and ordered to complete 240 hours community service.
Seamus O’Reilly (aged 24) of Swan Lodge, Swanville Place in Rathmines Road Lower, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of the drugs with a street value of €13,015 and ecstasy tablets worth €206 at his home on April 23, 2009.
An electronic weighing scales was also found in the house when it was searched by Garda Kenneth McDonald of Dundrum Garda Station.
Gda McDonald told Ms Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that O’Reilly admitted the drugs were “to use to sell to his friends”.
Mr Edmund Sweetman BL, defending, said O’Reilly had become involved in selling drugs to his college friends for about two months prior to the raid to help him pay his way through his third year in college.
The English and History student resorted to the opportunity to make money from selling drugs after he was struck down with Irritable Bowel Disorder and as a result could not hold down a part-time job.
“He became trapped by the cycle he found himself in,” said Mr Sweetman. “He made a grave error of judgment and felt under pressure in his serious financial circumstances to pursue his education which is never an excuse for the serious criminal behaviour.”
O’Reilly is one of 11 children who lost their mother at a young age and he had paid his own way through college up until he turned to drug selling. His father Gerard was in court to support him.
“He had a good upbringing and had access to one of the best third level institutes in the country but it had not all been easy because of the early death of his mother,” continued Mr Sweetman.
Judge Desmond Hogan, who had adjourned the case last March to allow for the preparation of a probation report, said: “the vast majority of people put forward a dysfunctional family, drug addiction etc as mitigating circumstances.
“This is a young man given all the opportunities in life including third level education. The question is that an aggravating factor? He should know right from wrong and what he did was for money,” said Judge Hogan.
“There are very serious consequences as the city is ravaged by drugs. If it is deemed necessary by the Probation Services he will need to undergo a drug treatment process.”
“I feel a custodial sentence would harshly interfere with his education prospects and his education and studies should be continued,” concluded Judge Hogan.