herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Dealer survived five heart attacks following drugs binge at wedding

Gerard O’Brien was caught with more than €4,300 of drugs
Gerard O’Brien was caught with more than €4,300 of drugs

A man who took a cocktail of cocaine and brandy at his brother's wedding and suffered five heart attacks has avoided jail for drug-dealing.

Gerard O'Brien was caught with more than €4,300 of cannabis resin in a mobile home parked by his family's home.

O'Brien (28) appeared at Letterkenny Circuit Court in Co Donegal, charged with the sale and supply of drugs on November 11, 2013.

Stuffed

Garda drugs officer Grainne McLoone said gardai entered the mobile home and found cannabis deals stuffed into an energy drink bottle.

Also in the mobile home was €270 cash, a tick-list and an empty biscuit tin with plastic bags and weighing scales.

The total value of cannabis herb was €4,370.

O'Brien, of Blue Cedars, Ballybofey, made a full admission and said he was trying to save some money for Christmas.

O'Brien said he had paid €1,450 for the drugs, but refused to say from where. He claimed he was also using sales of the drugs to pay back a drug debt.

His barrister, Fiona Crawford, said her client had suffered from life-altering medical issues as a result of his drug abuse.

She added that he had now been in a steady relationship for two years and had not come to the attention of gardai since 2013.

The court was told he had moved to England to work, but came home for his brother's wedding in 2015.

He went on a binge of cocaine and brandy on the day and suffered a seizure and five heart attacks.

Rushed

He was rushed to hospital and read the last rites. His family was told to prepare for the worst.

However, after extensive hospitalisation and rehab at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dun Laoghaire, he had managed to rebuild his life.

Ms Crawford added that her client has a permanent brain injury and it is not known if he will ever be able to work again.

Judge John Aylmer said it was a serious case that merited up to 18 months in prison.

However, he added that O'Brien had co-operated fully and a positive probation report had to be taken into consideration. He jailed O'Brien for 12 months, suspended for two years.

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