Illegal drugs found in Offaly direct provision centre

Illegal drugs found in Offaly direct provision centre

Afghan refugee appeared at Tullamore District Court

AN asylum seeker from Afghanistan told Tullamore District Court that it was normal to smoke cannabis in his country.

Aryan Habibi, 24, was living in the direct provision centre at Marian Hostel, High Street, Tullamore, on April 30 last where four deal bags of amphetamines were found.

The man was also found with €240 worth of cannabis resin at Offaly Street in Tullamore on March 25 last.

He pleaded guilty to both drugs charges and a further offence of a breach of the peace at Dolan's store, Clara Road on April 30.

Giving details of the offence at Offaly Street, Sergeant James O'Sullivan said when gardai were on patrol there they saw a male trying to throw something away.

During a search they found €240 of cannabis in a sealed bag on top of a gate divided into segments.

Mr Habibi was arrested and made admissions to possessing the drug for sale or supply.

Sergeant O'Sullivan also said that on April 30 the accused entered Dolan's Gala accompanied by a friend who was not wearing a mask.

When the owner approached and asked the second male to leave the store until he got a face mask, the defendant started to argue the point and swung at Mr Dolan in a threatening manner but didn't connect.

The accused's address at Marian Hostel was searched and €120 worth of amphetamine was found there.

Mr Farrelly said his client had no previous convictions. He had a difficult experience coming from his own country through Pakistan and then through France to Ireland.

He left his family behind him and some of his siblings were stuck in France. After arriving in Ireland he got a job for a short period in AES and then settled down following his turmoil and troubles.

Mr Habibi had entered his guilty pleas on a previous occasion and a restorative justice report was prepared for him in advance of sentencing.

Judge Staines said she had sympathy for the accused but he had committed some very serious offences in Ireland.

Though the man's English was said to be reasonable, he was assisted in court by an interpreter when Judge Staines asked him if he understood the seriousness of the offences.

Mr Habibi said smoking cannabis would be normal in his own country and the drugs found were for his own use.

Judge Staines said he had pleaded guilty to selling drugs and had them divided up into different bags.

Mr Farrelly said his client had taken a “pragmatic” approach by pleading guilty to having the drugs for sale or supply to deal with all the issues and put the matter behind him.

Having read the restorative justice report, Judge Staines said there had been a lot of problems making contact with the accused and the service intended contacting him by phone with a new appointment.

She told the accused it was very important for him to keep all his appointments because he could go to prison for two years.

She adjourned sentencing again to December 8 next and warned Mr Habibi that he must co-operate with the restorative justice service and keep all his appointments.

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