HSE cyberattack prevents Cork drug-dealer from proving he is drug-free before sentencing

The judge agreed to put sentencing back for three months.
HSE cyberattack prevents Cork drug-dealer from proving he is drug-free before sentencing

Christopher McCarthy had admitted buying the cocaine for €1,200 in 10 separate bags and he was going to supply some to friends “and put the rest up his nose,” File photo: iStock

A man caught dealing cocaine in East Cork almost two years ago could not prove he was drug-free yesterday in advance of sentencing because he could not get urinalysis due to the HSE cyberattack.

The case against Christopher McCarthy of 19 Bayview Estate, Cobh, County Cork, came before Cork Circuit Criminal Court for sentencing where the 37-year-old confessed to having cocaine for sale or supply on September 21, 2019.

Garda Kieran Crowley testified that at 10.45am on that date there was a garda checkpoint at Carrigtohill and a black Audi A4 was stopped. The defendant was a front-seat passenger in that car and he was seen fumbling with the waistband of his tracksuit pants.

When informed he was to be searched on suspicion of having drugs he handed over a lump of white compressed powder.

On analysis it was confirmed that this consisted of cocaine with a street value of €1,800.

He admitted buying it for €1,200 in 10 separate bags and he was going to supply some to friends “and put the rest up his nose,” Garda Crowley said.

The accused had three previous convictions for having drugs for sale or supply.

Maurice Coffey, senior counsel for the accused, said the defendant was drug-free but was unable to produce urinalysis results to that effect because of restrictions on the HSE caused by the cyberattack on their computer system.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he was not enthralled by talk of the HSE cyberattack and added: “I am in a bit of a quandary, I may have to imprison him.” 

Mr Coffey said: “I beseech the court, if he can give urinalysis you have said the court will take a certain approach – if he does demonstrate he is drug-free. He is drug-free but he cannot demonstrate that, through no fault of his own.” 

The judge then agreed to put sentencing back for three months.

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