Father tried to smuggle drugs into jail to clear debt

A FATHER tried to smuggle a drugs package into jail to clear a debt for his inmate son, who had earlier had his fingers broken by another prisoner.

George Byrne was “trying to be a good father” when he brought more than €800 worth of xanax and cannabis to Wheatfield jail.

blanchardstown courthouse

Blanchardstown District Court

At Blanchardstown District Court, Judge David McHugh sentenced him to four months in prison.

Byrne, aged 53, with an address at Kells Road, Crumlin, admitted attempting to convey drugs into prison, and unlawful possession of xanax and cannabis.

Garda Isabel Dockery told the court  she responded to a call from Wheatfield at 4pm on December 21, 2019 after the accused brought a suspected drugs package into the prison.

He was arrested and made full admissions, she said. The total value to the drugs was €878.

Byrne had previous convictions.

Garda Dockery agreed with defence solicitor Rory Staines that Byrne was identified “quite quickly” by prison officers because he seemed to be nervous going in. He was monitored as he went to visit his son, who he was going to hand over the package to.

The court heard the son had built up a debt and Byrne was under duress for his son, who was serving a very lengthy sentence for a very serious offence and had had his fingers broken by another prisoner a week previously.

Byrne had earlier paid money off a debt his son owed, Mr Staines said.

When Byrne went to the prison, he was under pressure. He accepted it was a very serious offence and he was at fault but he did “the wrong thing for the right reasons.”

Byrne realised there was a better way of dealing with the situation, by going to the prison authorities.

Judge McHugh accepted the accused was under emotional pressure in relation to his son but said it was a “very serious matter” to attempt to convey drugs into a prison facility.

“I’m satisfied that as a father he was attempting as he may have seen it to alleviate his son’s difficulty, but it was fundamentally misguided,” Judge McHugh said.

He said it was not a question of whether he would serve a sentence, but how long. He sentenced the accused to four months in prison, setting recognisances in the event of an appeal.

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The accused was later released from custody after serving notice of his intention to appeal.

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