A grandmother who received a delivery of over €19,000 of tranquilliser tablets because she was in fear of a “particular individual” has received a fully suspended sentence.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that Alma O’Connor (51) was viewed as an “easy target” by an individual of “a more experienced criminal element”.
O’Connor of Finn Street, Oxmantown Road, Dublin 7, came before the court on a signed plea on the charge of possession of drugs for sale or supply with a value exceeding €13,000 at her address on December 5, 2018. She has no previous convictions.
Garda Donal Donoghue told Siobhán Ní Chúlacháin BL, prosecuting, that on the date in question, gardaí obtained a search warrant for O’Connor’s address and were allowed into the house by her daughter.
Gda Donoghue said that when O’Connor was asked if there were any drugs in the house, she brought gardaí into the sitting room and showed them a black bag which contained approximately 9,800 Alprazolam tablets.
The tranquilliser tablets had a total estimated value of €19,640.
Gda Donoghue agreed with Barry Ward BL, defending, that his client had received the tablets in the post under the instructions of another person. He agreed that this person was known to gardaí and had put her in fear.
The garda said he did not expect O’Connor to come to garda attention again. He said these were the type of offences in which “vulnerable people” were picked on and that the accused was an “easy target”.
Mr Ward said his client was acquainted with a “particular individual” who under some manner of threat asked her to receive a package. He said she was taken advantage of by an individual of “a more experienced criminal element” and she was to be paid €150.
Counsel said his client was sorry she had put the system through this and regretted the offence personally. He said his client, who has a number of health difficulties, has three adult children and two grandchildren.
Judge Pauline Codd said it would be unjust to impose the presumptive mandatory minimum sentence in this case. She sentenced O’Connor to two-and-a-half years imprisonment, but suspended the entirety of the sentence on strict conditions.