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Thursday 23 January 2020

'No such thing as a responsible user of heroin', says judge

Alan Lynch was described as a ‘very mannerly’ drug addict
Alan Lynch was described as a ‘very mannerly’ drug addict

A musician who busked to fund a drug addiction was a "responsible heroin user" because he did not steal, a court has heard.

Alan Lynch (37) used his busking proceeds to get drug money and was "not a typical" addict, his defence said after he admitted possession of heroin and crack cocaine.

Giving him a two-month suspended sentence, Judge Paula Murphy said there was "no such thing as a responsible heroin user" and that it was not a victimless crime.

Lynch, of Somerville Drive, Walkinstown, pleaded guilty to possession of drugs at Grove Park, Rathmines, on October 13 last year.

A garda told Dublin District Court he had seen the accused, identified himself and told him he was going to be searched.

Lynch co-operated and handed over a small wrap of heroin and crack cocaine worth €70.

He had four previous convictions for offences including robbery.

Unusual

While the case was at the lower end of the scale, the criminal drug trade was "fuelled by people who buy drugs" and the accused was aware of that, his barrister Glenn Lynch said.

The accused had had a heroin addiction since he was 17. It was very unusual for someone who was addicted for that long to have so few previous convictions, Mr Lynch said.

Lynch had studied music in college and did a lot of busking.

"The money he receives from busking he uses to spend on drugs, it's not like an ordinary heroin addict who uses thefts to fuel his heroin addiction," Mr Lynch said.

"He is not someone who is a typical heroin user, he's a responsible heroin user.

"He doesn't go out and commit crimes to fuel his heroin addiction."

The previous conviction for robbery involved "pulling a bag away from someone", and Lynch was in debt at the time.

Addiction was an ongoing battle for him, and one he was trying to address with the use of methadone.

He was "very mannerly, even when he's under the influence of drugs", Mr Lynch said.

The judge suspended the sentence for a year.

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