Ill man allowed house to be used for preparing drugs to fund funeral expensesPadraig Conlon 26 Nov 2021
By Fiona Ferguson
A seriously ill man who allowed his home to be used for the preparation of drugs in order to fund his funeral expenses has avoided a jail term.
Philip Wesley (57), who suffers from advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), said he had been given 12 months to live before committing the offence in 2019 and did not want his children to have to pay for his funeral expenses.
Wesley, of Sandyhill Gardens, Ballymun, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to allowing his home to be used for the preparation of drugs in July 2019.
Garda Conor Garland told Fiona McGowan BL, prosecuting, that gardai gained entry by force to the house and found Wesley and two other men inside.
The two co-accused tried to escape into the back garden, but were caught by gardai.
Gardai recovered deals of heroin with a street value of €6,900 from the house, as well as bagging material and other drug paraphernalia.
One of the men has already been dealt with by the courts and received a 18 months suspended term.
Wesley has 25 previous convictions for road traffic offences dating back to 2002.
Gda Garland agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that his client was a “sick man”
Mr Spencer said Wesley had been worried that his children would have to pay for his funeral and committed the offence to get money for funeral expenses.
He said Wesley had “got in touch with people locally”, but immediately regretted it.
Gda Garland said Wesley was the lowest in the group involved and probably had no choice.
Mr Spencer told Judge Elma Sheahan that Wesley, a father of six children, had come to Ireland from Liverpool and lived an industrious life until he retired in 2010.
He said his client had been told he had 12 months to live at one stage after attending hospital for a heart condition.
The court heard that condition has since resolved itself.
Mr Spencer said Wesley has stage 4 COPD, which he said his client had told him is terminal, but he does not have a prognosis as to how long he will live.
He said Wesley’s financial situation was not good and he had looked into alternatives to funerals such as donation to science so his children would not have to pay funeral expenses, but instead involved himself in this offending.
Counsel said Wesley is a very ill man with extreme health difficulties, who regrets what he has done and submitted his culpability was the lowest of those involved.
Mr Spencer urged the court to impose a suspended sentence and said if a custodial term was imposed Wesley would suffer hugely, over and above what other would endure.
Judge Sheahan had adjourned the case after hearing evidence to allow documentary evidence of Wesley’s health conditions be put before the court.
Today she noted that serious ill health had been his motivation for offending, that his culpability was at the lowest level of those before the courts and there was an element of duress.
She took into account that he had been out of trouble for 20 years prior to this offending.
Judge Sheahan imposed a one and a half year sentence which she suspended in full.