Northern Ireland children “are dying in the street” thanks to drugs trade, judge warns
Cocaine and cannabis were intercepted in the post
Northern Ireland’s children “are dying in the street” thanks to the drugs trade, a judge warned yesterday as she sentenced two men for narcotics offences.
The comment was made as the pair appeared at Belfast Crown Court after being arrested as they got off a ferry from Scotland in 2015.
Judge Patricia Smyth told Daniel Raymond Dunlop and Rory O’Connor “it is because of people knowingly involving themselves in the drugs trade that our children are dying in the street”.
Dunlop, 32, O’Connor and a third man who was not before the court travelled to Scotland on the Stena ferry on October 30, 2015. The third man, 42-year old Samuel Boyd, will be sentenced next week.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Dunlop and Boyd travelled to Scotland to arrange the supply of cocaine and cannabis to Northern Ireland, while O’Connor, 27, played a “lesser” role in the operation by encouraging or assisting Dunlop and Boyd in a number of drugs offences.
Whilst in Scotland, the trio travelled to Glasgow, where Dunlop and Boyd involved themselves in posting two packages containing drugs to an address in Northern Ireland.
One package contained 117 grams of cocaine with an 8% purity, while the second contained 966 grams of herbal cannabis. Both packages were subsequently intercepted, while the car with all three men on board was stopped on their return journey later that day at the ferry terminal in Belfast.
Following an investigation it emerged that Boyd was linked to a Post Office in Glasgow via CCTV, while Dunlop’s phone was examined and provided evidence involving drugs.
While Boyd and Dunlop both pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of Class A and B drugs, O’Connor admitted a charge of encouraging or assisting offenders.
During yesterday’s sentencing, Judge Smyth told O’Connor, from Lynn Doyle Place in Downpatrick, his guilty plea indicated he knew the other two were travelling to Scotland for drugs, and that his presence in the car assisted by making it look like “a group of males innocently out for the day”.
She added: “The prosecution accept you didn’t receive benefits for having travelled to Scotland.”
Judge Smyth addressed Dunlop first, and said she was going to reduce his sentence for two reasons – the time it has taken the case to come to court, and the fact he has made “significant progress in terms of rehabilitation”.
The Judge told the father of one, from Great Victoria Street in Belfast, that whilst he had abused drugs from his early teens and had been the subject of paramilitary attacks, she accepted he has sought help and had engaged positively with Addictions NI.
Judge Smyth handed Dunlop a 20-month sentence which will be divided between ten months in custody and ten months on licence, and told him “if your rehabilitation is genuine, you will be a role model for other prisoners”.
Turning to O’Connor, she told him whilst there was “no doubt you knowingly took part in this drugs operations … and you knew exactly what assistance you would be giving to this commercial drugs operation”, his role was a lesser one. He was handed a 12-month sentence, which was suspended for three years.