herald

Saturday 22 July 2017

Mum caught with Taser and €14,000 of drugs spared jail

Mum-of-four Aisling Clarke leaves court after sentencing
Mum-of-four Aisling Clarke leaves court after sentencing

A mother-of-four caught with drugs and a stun gun in her home after being "preyed on" by dealers has avoided jail but is set to lose her house.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard eviction proceedings had been brought by the county council against Aisling Clarke (44) and it was anticipated that she would lose her home following a hearing next month.

Clarke, of Meadowlands Avenue, Mounttown, Dublin, pleaded guilty to possessing drugs and a stun gun on November 10, 2015 at the home she shares with three of her children.

Clarke, who has no previous convictions, told gardai after her arrest that she had had issues with heroin addiction in the past but had been clean for several years at the time of the offence.

Judge Melanie Greally said gardai accepted that Clarke had been "preyed on" by a third party and was holding the items for someone higher up the pecking order in the drugs trade.

She noted reports handed into court were largely favourable and all the indications were that she was doing her best to be a good mother to her children.

Judge Greally imposed a three-and-a-half year sentence which she suspended in full on condition that Clarke engaged with the Probation Service.

Tablets

Garda Ivor Scully told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardai found 1,480 MDMA tablets, with a street value of €14,480, in various places around the house.

They also discovered a Taser stun gun in the kitchen and a number of grinders used for preparing cannabis.

Gda Scully agreed with Ronan Prendergast BL, defending, that Clarke had been holding the items for another person and she was not the "prime mover". Clarke was receiving €50 in cash or cannabis a week for her role.

Gda Scully said he did not believe she was the type of person who would come to garda attention again once she stayed on the straight and narrow.

Mr Prendergast told the court that the county council had brought eviction proceedings against Clarke. He said the "likely consequence" would be a "significant punishment".

He said Clarke had her first child at a very young age and later moved to London where she became involved in drug use.

She was no longer using heroin at the time of the offence but had been using cannabis following the death of her father in 2014, for whom she had been an unofficial carer.

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