herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Jail for boxer who had €3,000 worth of drugs in bag

A BOXER caught with more than €3,000 worth of the illegal stimulant PVP in his gym bag at home has been jailed for eight months.

Niall Byrne (27) was out when gardai raided his house and seized bags of the designer drug.

He contested a drug dealing charge, his defence arguing that gardai had illegally entered the house in Tallaght.

Judge Denis McLoughlin found him guilty and sentenced him.

Byrne, of Castlepark, Tallaght, pleaded not guilty to possession of PVP with intent to sell or supply at his home on October 2, 2013.

Garda Stephen Coller said he went to the accused's house with a search warrant at 7.45am. He was acting on information that a person there had a quantity of cannabis.

He said the front door was open and when there was no answer he entered. The accused's father Charles was in the sitting room watching television. In the course of the search, Charles Byrne handed the gardai a blue Adidas bag containing boxing gloves, a skipping rope and a number of plastic bags with white powder which was initially believed to be cocaine.

TESTED

When tested, it proved to be PVP, with a market value of €3,100. Charles Byrne said his son was the only other person staying in the house.

Cross-examined by Defence Barrister Sorcha Whelan, Garda Coller accepted that the accused's father was elderly but said the TV was at normal volume.

Ms Whelan argued that the search was not legal because the gardai should have given the accused's father a chance to answer the front door, produced the warrant there and explained it to him.

"Walking into the house with eight or nine gardai" was not the correct way to execute a warrant, she said, adding that anything that followed from this was unlawfully obtained.

A State solicitor said the TV was on and the occupant may not have heard the knock.

Judge McLoughlin said he was satisfied the warrant had been validly executed. The accused did not give evidence.

He was now completely abstaining from alcohol and drugs and seeking work, Ms Whelan said.

Judge McLoughlin noted that while the defendant had no previous drugs convictions, it was a very serious offence.

The judge said he was taking into account the "not insignificant" value of the drugs.

hnews@herald.ie

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