herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Taxi driver caught dealing cocaine to get his licence back

Taximan Barry Burns gives the thumbs up as he leaves court
Taximan Barry Burns gives the thumbs up as he leaves court

A Dublin cab driver, who was successfully prosecuted for cocaine dealing from his car, can have his taxi licence restored and carry on working, a judge has ruled.

An action brought by taxi driver Barry Burns (43), of Bath Road, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, was opposed by Garda Superintendent Thomas Murphy, of the Dublin region traffic department, which includes the carriage office.

Supt Murphy said hair follicle tests last year showed Burns's drug use was "off the scale" and put it to him that he was "a danger to a the public".

However, Burns described that claim as "pure vendetta" and insisted he had stayed off drugs since he was prosecuted.

Burns had been stripped of his taxi licence following that prosecution but was then allowed to hold on to it and work provisionally, pending the outcome of his appeal, heard by Judge Deirdre Gearty at Dublin District Court.

Undercover

Giving her ruling yesterday, Judge Gearty said she was restoring his licence.

Barrister Patrick Jackson told the judge that in February 2015 Burns was stopped in a car in possession of €70 of cocaine.

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

In December 2016, he was prosecuted for possessing drugs for his own use. The second incident led to a more serious charge for having cocaine for sale or supply.

He pleaded guilty to the charges from the outset.

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

Since the prosecution, he continued to go to drug testing, Burns said. All 106 urine samples had been negative.

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