'Out of it' Apprentice star in cocaine bust let off after paying €500
A former winner of the Irish Apprentice has been left without a conviction after she admitted to being so "out of it" after a night's drinking she could not remember taking cocaine.
Michelle Massey (34) was found with the drug in her pocket when she was searched in a garda station following her arrest after a drunken episode in south Dublin.
She was arrested after she became violent in a dispute with a taxi driver.
Fitness fanatic Massey was originally thought to be due to appear before Dun Laoghaire District Court last Friday after a judge ordered an updated probation report. However, the matter was actually finalised in February and Judge Ann Watkin left her without a conviction.
Massey has no previous convictions of any kind.
The defendant, with an address at Corrig Hall, Ticknock Hill in Sandyford, had admitted to public drunkenness and threatening and abusive behaviour at Taney Road in Dundrum on May 1, 2015.
She had also pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine at Blackrock Garda Station on the same date.
Massey previously told Dun Laoghaire court she was having a "pretty rough time" when she was found with the cocaine.
Her lawyer had said it had been a "bad night, a one-off" for Massey, who had never used drugs before and had no recollection of taking the cocaine.
In February, the court heard that Massey told a probation officer that two deals of cocaine had been placed in her trouser pocket by an unknown person without her knowledge.
Defence solicitor Richard Young said his client was "someone who would never have abused drugs" and she found it hard to believe she had acted in such a manner.
However, she accepted that in the circumstances "that is what must have occurred - that she would have been in possession and would have consumed same".
On the night, she had gone out to a licensed premises in the city centre and consumed a "large amount of alcohol".
She was going through a difficult period at the time and she "foolishly decided to go out and become quite intoxicated".
Asked by the judge if this was why she took the drug, Mr Young said: "Perhaps, unfortunately she has no recollection."
Sergeant Peadar McCann confirmed the garda evidence was that Massey had been "completely out of it".
"I was having a pretty rough time," Massey told the judge in evidence.
Mr Young said his client apologised to the taxi driver and gardai. "It's a bad night, it's a one-off," Mr Young added.
Massey paid €500 into court and Judge Watkin left her without a criminal conviction.
A former sales consultant originally from Peterborough in England, Massey won the third series of the Irish version of The Apprentice TV3 show in 2010.
Her prize at the time was a one-year €100,000 contract working for entrepreneur Bill Cullen.