Corkman who has tried to 'turn his life around' since offence may get community service

The judge described the offence as "a serious charge", but will wait for report on his suitability for doing community service work
Corkman who has tried to 'turn his life around' since offence may get community service

Judge Kelleher imposed a four-month sentence on James Sheehan for discarding the suspected heroin into the River Lee as he fled but said that he could do a community service order of 150 hours instead of the prison sentence. File photo: Chris Young/PA

A young man carrying suspected heroin in his hand ran from gardaí and was seen discarding it into the River Lee as he fled.

Yesterday at Cork District Court, Judge Olann Kelleher remarked: “Obstruction is a serious charge. He disposed of heroin after being chased by gardaí.” James Sheehan of the halting site, Little Island, County Cork, pleaded guilty to a charge of obstruction of a drugs search.

Judge Kelleher imposed a four-month sentence but said that Sheehan could do a community service order of 150 hours instead of the prison sentence.

The judge adjourned the matter for finalising in four weeks' time to allow the probation service time to report on his suitability for doing community service work.

Sergeant John Kelleher outlined the background to the incident. He said that gardaí became suspicious of Sheehan and decided to carry out a search under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

As they approached him they saw what they suspected was heroin in his hand.

“He fled and ran along the banks of the river and threw what he had into the river,” Sgt Kelleher said.

James Sheehan had one previous conviction for having drugs for his own use, but this dated back to 2009.

Defence solicitor Diarmuid Kelleher said: “I am pleased to tell the court he is completely clear of all drugs for almost one year. He had two lapses on alcohol and he is now clean of that too.

He has made a huge effort to turn his life around. He missed out on education. He is taking very serious steps to address drug and alcohol addiction. 

"It escalated to heroin but he went through Arbour House and changed within the last 12 months.

“Before that his life was chaotic. He had difficulty with homelessness as well.” 

Judge Kelleher said he was glad to hear the accused had turned his life around.

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