A 48-year-old man who was involved in the cocaine trafficking because of high gambling debts and severe pressure to repay was given a five-year suspended sentence.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he had serious doubts about the fully suspended sentence in the case of James Cregan of 49 Palmbury Orchard, Togher, Cork, but acknowledged the extensive efforts he had made since July 2019 to resolve to turn his life around.
Detective Garda Rory O’Connell said he had received an arrest warrant to search the defendant’s home. On the way to the search, the Gardaí stopped the accused in his car and found that he had cocaine worth over 1,000 euros.
He had a much larger supply of cocaine in his house and a smaller amount of cannabis.
The total amount of both drugs had a street value of over 23,000 euros.
He told gardaí at the scene that he was under considerable pressure due to a gambling guilt.
Defense attorney Emmet Boyle said the pressure involved Cregan having the windows of his house blown in.
He said the defendant had been to inpatient treatment for his gambling addiction and was also playing a positive role in the community through community service.
James Cregan pleaded guilty to having offered cocaine for sale or delivery in Togher on July 19, 2019 when its street value exceeded € 13,000.
He should have expected an obligatory prison sentence of at least ten years.
The judge said the circumstances were so exceptional that he could deviate from the mandatory sentence.