Politicians supplying character references 'should have more sense', judge says

The comment was made during the sentencing of a Cork man to a suspended 18-month sentence for having cocaine for sale or supply to others.
Politicians supplying character references 'should have more sense', judge says

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the fact that the defendant was free of drugs was the most significant factor in this case before Cork Circuit Criminal Court. File picture: iStock

A sentencing judge said that politicians supplying character testimonials for people on drugs charges should have more sense.

24-year-old Shane Rowley of Market Gardens, Togher Road, Cork, pleaded guilty to having cocaine for sale or supply to others.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin imposed a suspended 18-month sentence.

However, the judge commented: “People who supply those testimonials – some of them serving politicians – they really should have more sense.” 

The testimonials in this case were handed in to the sentencing judge and not read publicly. The names of the politicians or others giving the character evidence were not disclosed.

Garda Ryan Dillon testified that he was on routine patrol at Hartland’s Avenue in Cork when he observed a Seat Ibiza car that Shane Rowley was driving.

Suspicious that there may have been drugs in the car, Garda Dillon conducted a search and found a weighing scales and a plastic bag containing cocaine wrapped in a number of one-gram bags.

In total, the gardaí recovered almost 23 grams of cocaine and the same quantity of a mixing agent.

Shane Rowley was the driver of the car and he had no previous convictions.

Rowley was a regular drug user at the time the crime was detected but is not believed to be using drugs any longer.

Sinéad Behan, defence barrister, said: “He was taking drugs and got into debt and he was trying to repay the debt.

“He received certain threats in relation to the debt. That debt is no longer an issue. He has been working and is now receiving Covid allowance."

Judge Ó Donnabháin said the fact that the defendant was free of drugs was the most significant factor in this case before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

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