Heroin-dealing youth was 'led down garden path'
A young man with no criminal record was "led down the garden path" when he got involved in heroin dealing, a court heard.
Mark O'Brien (20) was misled by a bad peer group when he took part in what was described as a "silly act".
Judge Ann Ryan adjourned the case and said she would leave him without a conviction if he made a €200 charity donation.
O'Brien, of Aungier Street, Dublin 2, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs with intent to sell or supply.
Dublin District Court heard investigating gardai were carrying out a surveillance operation in the south inner city when they saw O'Brien loitering in the area.
They saw several suspects involved in a drugs transaction.
The officers stopped O'Brien and took him to Kevin Street Garda Station where they found several street deals of heroin worth a total of €200 on him.
He had no previous convictions of any kind.
The accused handed the packages over to the gardai and was cooperative.
"He wasn't the target of the operation on the day and he seemed to have been roped into it," the prosecuting garda said.
O'Brien was not the "main player" and had been caught because of a group of "peers he was associating with at the time", his barrister Donal Pattison said.
"They led him down the garden path. He describes it as a very, very silly act. He fell into a certain peer group and was misled. I understand that is no excuse for his actions, but it is his explanation."
O'Brien did a number of Fas courses, including one in property management, and then became homeless.
He now hoped to be accepted on to a health and fitness course.
O'Brien had €100 to offer to charity as a token of his remorse.
"If he were to seek employment in the health and fitness sector, any drugs conviction could have a catastrophic effect on that career," Mr Pattison said.
He added that €100 was a substantial sum of money for the defendant.