By Sonya McLean & Brion Hoban
A personal trainer who said he was holding cocaine in order to pay off a €15,000 gambling debt has been jailed for 18 months.
During a search of the Dublin home of Elmer Habibovic (31) on April 19, 2018 gardaí seized €25,500 worth of cocaine.
Passing sentence today, Judge Elma Sheahan noted that Habibovic was also found in possession of €6,000 cash in the house and said that the court has difficulty accepting the explanation that he held the drugs in order to pay a gambling debt due.
She said that he also had sufficient savings to repay the debt. She said he had sufficient means to repay the debt if it existed and that his engagement in the drug trade was therefore for financial gain.
Habibovic of Woodvale Avenue, Hartstown, Dublin had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at his home.
He has eleven previous convictions for public order and road traffic offences, which were all dealt with in the District Court. He has not come to garda attention since and previously had not offended since July 2009.
Judge Sheahan said the offence fell in the upper end of the lower range of offences of this kind due to the amount of drugs involved and the service provided by the accused which “keeps the kingpins from justice”.
She sentenced Habibovic to three years imprisonment, but suspended the final 18 months on strict conditions including that he follow all directions of the Probation Service for 18 months post release.
Detective Garda Mark O’Neill agreed with Ronan Munro SC, defending, that Habibovic has “been off the garda radar” and “has faded from view” since his arrest. Counsel submitted that his client instructed that he has since “disassociated from his peers” at the time.
Mr Munro handed in a large amount of testimonials to the court which he said outlined the contribution his client has made to his local community assisting many clubs with free strength and conditioning training.