herald

Monday 29 May 2017

Cocaine cabbie caught with drugs twice in a year keeps his licence

Cabbie Barry Burns had his case struck out after paying a charitable donation of €1,000
Cabbie Barry Burns had his case struck out after paying a charitable donation of €1,000

A Dublin taxi-driver who was caught with cocaine in his car twice within a 12-month period following a sting operation can continue working as a cabbie.

Barry Burns (42) turned to selling cocaine to "make a quick buck" as he needed the money to pay maintenance for his three young children after he had split from his partner, Swords District Court heard.

Gardai set up a surveillance operation on suspected drug dealing and stopped Burns, who was driving a silver Skoda taxi on the Glen Ellen Link Road on February 6, 2016. They searched the vehicle and Burns handed over one deal of cocaine which he retrieved from the glove box.

Gardai later retrieved a further six deals of cocaine, with a total value of €525. Burns was arrested and made admissions, the court heard.

Guilty

A year before that, on February 7, a warrant was executed at a premises in Swords and Burns was parked in the driveway. Deals of cocaine worth €75 were located in his vehicle.

Burns, of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to two counts of the sale and supply of drugs under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Defence solicitor Fiona D'Arcy previously told Judge John Lindsay the defendant had been "going through a difficult time" following the split from his partner three years ago.

"He had to move back in with his parents and was trying to find money to pay maintenance and because of the break-up he turned to drugs.

"He was in a bad place financially and in February (of 2016) he received a phone call, obtained the cocaine to make a quick buck but it was a set-up," she said.

When he was arrested he handed over the drugs and made full and frank admissions and has no other charges pending, Ms D'Arcy told the court.

She said Burns has a history of anxiety and attends counselling which he finds beneficial.

She added that the father-of-three is heavily involved in the local community managing children's GAA, soccer and badminton teams.

Punishment

"The only thing keeping him going is the counselling and his job. A conviction would mean the end of his job as a taxi driver," said Ms D'Arcy, asking Judge Lindsay for lenience.

"He knows he is in the last chance saloon and it wouldn't only be punishment for him but for his ex-partner and children if he loses his taxi licence."

After the €1,000 charitable donation was handed into court, Judge Lindsay struck the case out.

Burns, who has been driving a taxi for 10 years was found guilty last July at Dublin District Court of failing to take an accountant on the shortest route to his home in Blackrock from Dublin Airport.

He was fined €250 for this offence. A spokesperson for the National Transport Authority (NTA) said that, as there was no conviction in this case, Burns would not be stripped of his taxi licence.

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