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Sunday 17 December 2017

Cocaine cabbie in court battle to keep hold of taxi licence

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A taxi driver is trying to stop gardai from revoking his licence after he was successfully prosecuted for cocaine dealing.

The court action brought by Barry Burns (43), of Bath Road, Balbriggan, is being opposed by Supt Thomas Murphy of the Dublin Region Traffic Department, which includes the Carriage Office.

Burns' barrister Patrick Jackson told Judge Deirdre Gearty at Dublin District Court that, in February 2015, his client was stopped in a vehicle and found to be in possession of €70 worth of cocaine.

Undercover

On a date in February last year, undercover gardai made four calls to his phone and later that day Burns provided them with seven deals of cocaine, worth about €550, counsel said.

The case came before Swords District Court last December.

Burns was prosecuted for possessing drugs for his own use as a result of the first incident, but the second led to a more serious charge of having cocaine for sale or supply. He pleaded guilty to the charges.

Mr Jackson said that, at the time, the father-of-three had been going through family difficulties and began using drugs.

Those charges were struck out after he had gone to counselling, provided samples to show he was off drugs and donated €1,000 to charity.

Supt Murphy told Judge Gearty that counsel omitted to mention that Burns was using his taxi at the time and there was a "tick list" amounting to several thousand euro owed to him by customers.

Philip Kavanagh, of the Tiomanai Tacsai na hEireann union, told the court he had known Burns for about 10 years and said he felt comfortable with him remaining a taxi driver.

Stupid

He said Burns had told him of his difficulties at the time, but since then had perked up and seemed to be trying to get on with his life.

Counsel for Burns provided the court with documents showing that tests proved his client has stopped taking drugs.

Burns told the court he had been stupid and had let his family down.

Since the prosecution, he has continued to go to drug testing, he added.

Judge Gearty adjourned the case, which will be listed for mention again in four weeks.

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