herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

I wasn't a big dealer and I just fell into it

Burns was on bail in relation to the offensive weapons and criminal damage offences when he was caught selling drugs last year, the Clonmel Circuit Court heard.

Detective Garda Donal Cashman told Judge Thomas Teehan that gardai seized a baseball bat, two golf clubs and a can of pepper spray from Dwayne Burns following an incident on Dillon Street on April 1, 2008.

The drugs charges arose from an undercover garda operation aimed at evaluating the extent of the drugs problem around Cooleen's Close in Clonmel in the summer of 2009

"It was suspected that Dwayne Burns was one of the main cocaine dealers in Cooleen's Close at the time," said Det Gda Cashman.

Garda Tom Nix was operating undercover and was given money to purchase drugs if such an opportunity arose.

Dwayne Burns then sold drugs - mainly cocaine - to the garda at Cooleen's Close on July 15, 16 and 17.

The quantity of drugs involved was "small," the court heard, about €250-300 in street value.

Frank Quirke BL, defending, said that his client was a "significant sportsman" and represented Tipperary at all football grades from under-16 up to senior. His GAA club was Clonmel Og while he also played soccer with Clonmel Town.

Dwayne Burns himself took the witness stand and apologised for his actions, describing them as "just plain stupid". He had left school in fifth year, he said, but had played sports since he was a child.

Asked was he always good at football, he replied: "So people tell me anyway."

In relation to the drugs, he said he "wasn't a major dealer" and "just fell into it".

Judge Teehan said he considered the drug offences as being "towards the bottom of the middle range" of such crimes.

He sentenced him to concurrent terms of three years and two years for possession of the offensive weapons and four years for criminal damage.

For the drug charges, he imposed sentences of five years for each of the four offences -- to run concurrently with each other but consecutively with the other sentences.

The cumulative sentence was nine years, the judge said, before suspending the last seven years.

He bound Burns to the peace for seven years and ordered him to remain drug-free during that period.

hnews@herald.ie

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