Dublin People

Man who jumped into the canal to evade Gardaí is jailed for 32 months

By Sonya McLean

A man who jumped into the canal to avoid gardaí when he was caught picking up drugs has been jailed for 32 months.

James Maher (32) of Kilcronin Crescent, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to having cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply on August 23, 2020.

Sergeant Peter Smith told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting, that he was on patrol around the Grand Canal in Clondalkin when he saw Maher acting suspiciously.

He saw him place items from a ditch into a shopping bag and placing it on the handle bars of his bike.

Sgt Smith tried to stop Maher but he ran off before throwing a second bag, large bin bag, into the canal.

Maher jumped into the canal himself, got out of the other side, retrieved the bin bag and threw it into a nearby field.

The bag that had been on the bike was recovered and cannabis, valued at €2,500, was found in that.

Sgt Smith said a colleague caught Maher nearby.

He was wet and cocaine, valued at €980, was found on him. The field was searched in an attempt to retrieve the bin bag but it was never recovered

Maher was interviewed by gardaí but nothing came out of those interviews.

He has 27 previous convictions which include a number for drug dealing.

Maher was previously sentenced by Judge Elma Sheahan for similar offences and is due for release on May 20, 2025.

This offence was committed while he was on bail for that drug dealing.

Sgt Smith agreed with Keith Spencer BL, defending, that he had a drug problem and a drug debt at the time.

He accepted that Maher was a father of three.

Mr Spencer asked the court not to extend his client’s release date.

Judge Martin Nolan said that Maher had a significant history of offending involving drug dealing.

He acknowledged that Maher wants to change his life and wants to reform and rehabilitate in prison and “return to the community a better person”.

“Hopefully he will take those steps,” Judge Nolan commented.

“But he was involved in drug dealing and was pretty incorrigible at that time,” Judge Nolan said before he sentenced Maher to 32 months in prison which he ordered to be served consecutive to the term he is already serving.

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