herald

Monday 22 May 2017

Drugs minder 'fell into a spiral' following death of grandmother

Darryl Cullen of Old Church Avenue, Clondalkin, charged with possession of drugs pictured at Blanchardstown court
Darryl Cullen of Old Church Avenue, Clondalkin, charged with possession of drugs pictured at Blanchardstown court

A Dublin man who was caught storing €1,600 of cannabis and cocaine in his home had "spiralled" into drug use when he became depressed over the death of his grandmother, a court heard.

Darryl Cullen (32) agreed to hold on to the drugs in an attempt to reduce his own debt built up from substance abuse.

Father-of-one Cullen pleaded guilty to possession of both drugs with intent to sell or supply at his home at Old Church Avenue, Clondalkin, last December 2.

Judge David McHugh ordered him to carry out 220 hours of community service instead of a five-month jail sentence.

Blanchardstown District Court heard gardai searched the address under warrant at 4.27pm on the date in question.

The accused made full admissions at the scene and signed the garda's notebook.

Defence solicitor Matthew Kenny said Cullen had told gardai he was holding drugs to reduce a debt he had built up from taking drugs himself.

He had previous drugs convictions from one incident in 2007 but, other than that, he was of good character. He had also not been in trouble since those off ences.

Anxiety

Unusually, Cullen had contacted gardai to ask to be charged 'sooner rather than later' due to the anxiety he was feeling over the case.

It was exceptional for someone to want to plead guilty at such an early stage in proceedings when a certificate of analysis was not yet available, Mr Kenny said.

He added that the accused had been close to his grandmother, who acted in place of a parent for him.

When she died in 2015, he spiralled into depression, started using drugs, accumulated debts and started holding drugs for others.

He should have known better, and Mr Kenny asked Judge McHugh to give him a chance.

The accused had a son who he took to school every day.

"He accepts that what he did was absolutely wrong and he has done all he can to repair the damage he did in 2016," Mr Kenny said.

He added that the defendant was now drug-free.

Judge McHugh said the 220 hours of community service he was ordering reflected how near he was to getting an outright prison sentence.

The maximum number of hours was 240, he added.

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