Lucan man bought heroin for his mam when he was only 10

By Jessica Magee

A man who bought heroin for his mother regularly when he was just a child of 10 will be sentenced next month for possessing cocaine worth almost €139,000.

Father-of-one Gerard Cleary (33) pleaded guilty to possessing nearly two kilos of cocaine for sale or supply outside his house at Shon Valley Apartments, The Grange, Lucan, Co Dublin on August 8, 2017.

Dublin Courts 4

At his sentence hearing on Thursday, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Cleary had agreed to hold the drugs under pressure from a third party in order to repay a debt accrued through his own cocaine use.

The court also heard he had been in possession of the drugs for only a matter of minutes before gardai intercepted him and Cleary made full admissions.

Giving evidence to the court, Detective Garda Patrick Carey said he saw Cleary come out of the apartment block on the day and direct two cars into the car park of the complex.

The garda told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that he saw Cleary taking a Supervalu bag out of the passenger footwell of one of the cars and put it into the boot of a parked Volkswagen Golf.

When gardai approached, Cleary immediately cooperated and handed them the keys of the Golf, where two packages were found of suspected controlled drugs.

On analysis, the packages were found to contain 1,976 grammes of cocaine with a street value of €138,837. Cleary was arrested, as were the drivers of the other two cars.

Cleary, who was working as a waste management treatment engineer for Enviro Services, told gardaí he had gotten a phone call telling him that “something was being dropped” to him.

He said he was asked to hold on to the package for not more than a day and had arranged to leave it in the unlocked car so it could be picked up by whomever.

Cleary said he was told to do this to pay of his debt for cocaine which totalled €9,000.

He said his drug habit was costing him €800 a week and that his new job was earning him €400 a week, but that his offer to pay off his debt in weekly instalments had been refused.

Gardai said Cleary couldn’t name the person to whom he owed the money, nor the person who asked him to take the package, “out of fear”.

He has 14 previous convictions, nine of which are road traffic offences, with one minor assault and one under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Caroline Biggs SC, defending, said Cleary had effectively been a functioning cocaine addict who was able to keep a job and a relationship and raise a child.

However she said that when her client lost his job, his cocaine use had increased dramatically and that “all of a sudden” he found himself with a huge debt.

Ms Biggs said that although he had gotten another job and was trying to take responsibility for his “poor and impulsive decision” by trying to repay the debt, a decision was taken by others that he had to repay by way of services.

“These services were of far more value to them than the monetary value of the debt; they had no interest in him repaying small amounts. He had no control over that whatsoever,” said Ms Biggs.

She described how Cleary’s case was unusual in that this was his first major transgression, despite his background of being raised in a house of addiction and violence.

The court heard how Cleary was the oldest of seven children with different fathers, and that he had no relationship with his own father.

His mother had an early alcohol addiction which progressed to a heroin addiction, and she sent Gerard to buy heroin for her three times a week, when he was aged 10 or 11.

Ms Biggs said that despite developing his own cocaine addiction in his mid to late teens, Cleary had managed to stay away from serious crime and had never been involved in drug-dealing.

Cleary’s mother wrote a letter to the court detailing her son’s “appalling” early years when he was raised initially in a pub.

His mother wrote that instead of protecting her son she had exploited him and used him as her drug purchaser, when she became addicted to heroin following a morphine prescription.

She said she has been clean for a number of a years and had been given a second chance, and asked the judge whether she, too, might give her son a second chance in life.

Other letters from employers and a local football club described Cleary as reliable, honest and hardworking, while a medical report showed he has suffered brain aneurisms due to his cocaine use.

The court heard Cleary was engaging with the Inchicore/Bluebell Community Addiction Team and providing clean urine samples, and was back living with his partner, playing football and spending time with his eight-year-old son.

Judge Karen O’Connor remanded Cleary on continuing bail to be sentenced on November 16.

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