Brother spared jail over 'foolish' €120k drug delivery to pay debt
A Dublin man who was pressured into delivering more than €120,000 worth of cannabis to pay off his younger brother's drug debt has avoided being sent to prison.
Brian O'Grady's father broke down in tears in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court when Judge Martin Nolan said he would take the "unusual step" of dep- arting from the mandatory minimum 10-year jail term and instead handed down a suspended five-year sentence.
Judge Nolan accepted that O'Grady had made a "huge error of judgment" when he agreed to deliver 20kgs of cannabis resin to help pay off his step-brother's €2,000 drug debt.
"He involved himself in a serious crime, but I would estimate his moral culpability was quite low," Judge Nolan said.
O'Grady (31) with an address in Liam Mellows Road, Finglas, pleaded guilty to one count of possessing cannabis resin for sale or supply at Aldi car park in Finglas on February 12 last year. The drugs had a street value of €122,000.
The court heard O'Grady was abandoned by his mother on the steps of the then Dublin Corp- oration offices when he was a baby and was only reunited with his father and step-siblings after some time in foster care.
Defence counsel Michael Bowman said it was perhaps O'Grady's early experience that had caused him to "foolishly take on the role of father figure" when his brother came to him for help.
Det Gda Sean Smith told Noel Devitt, prosecuting, said that gardai carried out a surveillance operation on two men travelling from Cork to Dublin.
O'Grady met the two in the Aldi car park in Finglas and placed two bags containing the drugs in one of their cars.
They were arrested on their way back to Cork and O'Grady was arrested shortly afterwards.
He made "immediate admissions" to gardai that he had agreed to deliver the drugs.
He has six previous convictions, including road traffic offences and possession of a knife.
He is a qualified electronic technician with an excellent work history, the court heard.
The other two men received sentences of seven years and two years respectively.
Handing down a suspended sentence, Judge Nolan said: "It's an unusual step and I'm unlikely to repeat it in the future."