€12,000 cannabis herb found in Ballinagar ditch

THREE year suspended sentences have been handed down to two men who had €12,000 worth of cannabis for sale or supply. Martin Kavanagh (29) of Chancery Park Avenue, Tullamore and now living in Manchester and William Kavanagh (34) of Ballyogan Vale, Carrickmines in Dublin were found following Garda surveillance with €12,000 cannabis herb in a ditch in Ballinagar.

THREE year suspended sentences have been handed down to two men who had €12,000 worth of cannabis for sale or supply. Martin Kavanagh (29) of Chancery Park Avenue, Tullamore and now living in Manchester and William Kavanagh (34) of Ballyogan Vale, Carrickmines in Dublin were found following Garda surveillance with €12,000 cannabis herb in a ditch in Ballinagar.

Sergeant Caroline Lyng of Tullamore’s drug squad told Tullamore Circuit Court how she was led to three sports bags in the ditch, and a later search revealed a scales, plastic bags and gloves.

Both men admitted having the drug to sell, Martin Kavanagh to pay a drugs debt and William Kavanagh to earn money. Both have previous convictions but not for drug related offences and positive probation reports were presented to Judge Tony Hunt.

William Kavanagh, who has four children and Martin, who has two children, have remained out of trouble since they were arrested and are not being investigated for any further offences.

Shane Geraghty BL, said William Kavanagh doesn’t live according to the trappings of wealth, and is not a threat to society. He left school in second year but is now doing adult education and is dealing with his drug addiction. A member of the Travelling Community, he was “slightly gullible” in relation to drugs enterprise, he said.

Anthony Cahalan, BL, said Martin Kavanagh had cooperated fully with Gardaí and is taking steps to rehabilitate his drug and alcohol problem. His client has experienced marital difficulties as a result of the drug bust, but the relationship is slowly coming back on track, he said.

Martin Kavanagh is working full time and has cut down, but not cut out his drinking, he said. Judge Tony Hunt noted how the men had co-operated with Gardaí, are dealing with their issues and had positive probation reports. However, despite what he called “substantial mitigating factors” the offence before the court was serious, and the drugs just €1,000 in value below the amount which requires a minimum mandatory ten year sentence.

He said the public interest would not be served by jailing the men, as jail is expensive and often counter-productive, and imposed three year sentences which he suspended, ordering both men to complete a year under the supervision of the Probation Service.