Nephew stashed €1.6m drugs under the bath for uncle
A MAN has avoided a jail term after he was caught with almost €1.6m worth of heroin because the judge accepted he had effectively acted as "a safety deposit box" for his uncle.
Martin Doyle (23), of Cherry Orchard Parade, Ballyfermot, received a four-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after he pleaded guilty to possession of the drugs, worth an estimated €1.57m, for sale or supply at Kilclare Gardens, Tallaght, on February 9, 2010.
He has minor previous convictions which were mainly for public order offences and include a charge of possession of a knife, for which he received a five-month suspended sentence.
Doyle was training to be a chef at the time.
His uncle, Francis Sinclair (40), of Kilclare Gardens, Tallaght, received a 12-year sentence with four suspended last February from Judge Donagh McDonagh after he pleaded guilty to the same charge and an additional count of possession of drugs for sale or supply at another property in the same estate on the same date.
Sergeant Alan McDevitt told Garnet Orange, prosecuting, that gardai searched the house Doyle was staying in at the time following a tip off.
The drugs, stashed in a holdall, were found hidden under the bath. The packages were analysed and found to contain just under eight kilograms of heroin.
Doyle later fully co-operated with the gardai and said he had "never done anything like this before".
Sgt McDevitt agreed with Mr Orange that gardai were satisfied that the drugs belonged to Sinclair and he had asked Doyle to mind them for a short time.
Sgt McDevitt agreed with Sean Gillane, defending, that his client was to hold the drugs for a short time and was not involved in the mixing, bagging or distribution of the heroin.
He accepted that he was a "very, very different individual" to his uncle and that although Doyle was using "small levels" of both cannabis and cocaine at the time, he has now "fallen completely off the garda radar".
"He has at every twist and turn, since his arrest, taken every opportunity he has been given to improve his situation," Mr Gillane said.
Judge McDonagh said it was "a very unusual case" and said Sinclair had been at the "heart and back of this case".
"He used his nephew as a safety deposit box," the judge said, but added that Doyle had "been reckless" not to examine the contents of the holdall before agreeing to mind it.
Judge McDonagh suspended the entire four-year sentence on condition that Doyle keep the peace and be of good behaviour for five years and be under the supervision of the probation service for two.