A Dublin musician who was caught with over €21,000 of cannabis has been given a four year suspended sentence.
Brian Walton (31), a skilled multi-instrumentalist and set musician, admitted he had been selling cannabis to clear debts.
Walton, with an address at Portobello Harbour, Dublin 8, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing cannabis and cannabis resin worth a total of €21,423 at his home on April 24, 2017. He has no previous convictions.
Garda Peter Lyons told Joseph Barnes BL, prosecuting, that he got a warrant to search Walton's address on foot of confidential information.
The garda said he seized three phones during the search of Walton's home and that these contained “unguarded” text messages pertaining to drug dealing.
Gda Lyons said one of the phones had 18 messages with the same content. He revealed this was sent to Walton's usual clients advertising “something to alleviate hangover” from the previous day, which had been St Patrick's Day.
He said Walton was “forthcoming” and “compliant” on arrest and admitted he had been selling cannabis to clear debts. He said Walton had not come to garda attention since.
The garda agreed with Dean Kelly BL, defending, that Walton had experienced homelessness and was someone he did not expect to see before the courts again.
Mr Kelly submitted at the original sentence hearing last October that his client had been ridding himself of his “persistent and pernicious” cannabis addiction and was now drug free.
Judge Melanie Greally had adjourned the case to allow a probation report be prepared.
She noted that the root of Walton's offending seemed to have been his own excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs at the time and his inability to finance it.
Judge Greally took into account his early guilty plea, his co-operation, personal circumstances and lack of previous convictions. She noted that he seemed to now have some insight into the wider implications of his activities.
She imposed concurrent sentences totaling four years which she suspended in full on strict conditions including that he undergo a further period of nine months probation supervision