herald

Wednesday 22 March 2017

Cannabis guest threatened to slit hotel worker's throat

In garda interviews, Byrne took responsibility for the drugs and said he was trying to get rid of them in a “quick sale”.
In garda interviews, Byrne took responsibility for the drugs and said he was trying to get rid of them in a “quick sale”.

A man who threatened to kill hotel staff who found cannabis herb in his room is now in rehab and will not be jailed if he continues to make good progress, a judge has said.

Keith Byrne (32), who has 44 previous convictions, made threats to staff and told them he had a lawyer "on speed dial".

Byrne, of Ballyogan Lawn, Ballyogan, Carrickmines, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cannabis herb valued at €300 and making threats to kill or cause serious harm to staff at Bewley's Hotel, Sandyford in February 2014.

Judge Melanie Greally noted that Byrne was now in a residential rehabilitation programme and was making good progress.

She adjourned the case until October and said if he continued to make strides in treatment and engaged in services, she would deal with the matter in a non-custodial way.

At Byrne's previous court appearance, Gda Sean Balfe told Sinead McMullen, prosecuting, that staff had seen different people going to and coming from Byrne's room.

At about 2am he and another man went down to the lobby.

Abusive

When staff said the second man had to remain in the lobby because he was not a guest, Byrne became abusive.

When asked by a member of staff to calm down, he responded by saying he would slit him "from ear to ear".

"My sister is a solicitor and I have a barrister on speed dial," he said. He then told staff his girlfriend was ill in the room.

When a member of staff went to check, a woman answered the door. In the room was a large bag containing cannabis herb.

In the lobby, Byrne was overheard telling someone to get the "stuff from under the bed".

Byrne then told a staff member that he would murder him.

When Byrne discovered the staff member had the bag of cannabis herb, he produced a screwdriver and threatened to stab the man. He then fled the scene.

In garda interviews, Byrne took responsibility for the drugs and said he was trying to get rid of them in a "quick sale".

Barry Ward, defending, said Byrne was now free from any substance abuse.

He submitted that this was a drug-fuelled event, but his recent engagement with rehabilitation has been "exemplary."

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