Drug dealer avoids jail after being caught with €10,000 of cannabis

October 25, 2022

A St Johnston man caught with almost €10,000 of cannabis has avoided going to jail.

Conrad Clarke, a 34-year-old with an address at Ard Baithin, was before Letterkenny District Court on Monday.

Clarke was charged that, at Railway Road, St Johnston, he had in his possession a controlled drug, to wit, cannabis herb to the value of €9,900 for the purpose of selling or otherwise supplying it to another.

The offence is contrary to Section 15 and Section 27 (as amended by Section 6 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1984) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.

Judge Éiteáin Cunningham queried how the matter had been noted for prosecution on indictment, but Sergeant Jim Collins said the matter was not sent forward in this District Court.

Sergeant Collins pointed out that Clarke had served ‘quite a bit of time’ in Northern Ireland.

In December 2017, Clarke given a six-year jail sentence at Laganside Crown Court for the possession of a Class

A controlled drug, cocaine, with intent to supply – three years in custody and three years on licence. He also received a three-year sentence for possession of a Class B drug, cannabis, with intent to supply – 18 months in custody and 18 months on licence. The sentences ran concurrently.

A co-accused in that case received similar sentences after PSNI officers recovered 3.4 kilos of cannabis and 1.5 kilos of cocaine, with a combined estimated street value of £160,000, in a vehicle they stopped in Belfast city centre on February 8, 2017.

Clarke was present when his case was dealt with on Monday.

Judge Cunningham considered a probation report, which was prepared for Clarke.

Solicitor for Clarke, Mr Patsy Gallagher, said his client had learned ‘a very solitary lesson’. The case, he said, was a ‘rare occasion when co-operation worked between both jurisdictions’.

“He was a model prisoner in Northern Ireland,” Mr Gallagher said. “He was very co-operative. Even when he was released, he was on licence. He had every opportune to come across the border, but he didn’t He did his time and he did well.

“He has served time on this island on full facts and he will comply with any orders made. I would ask the court not to add to his sentence.”

Judge Cunningham, noting that Clarke had made ‘significant progress’, said that, while she was unable to account for time served in Northern Ireland, she would take it into view.

Clarke was convicted and sentenced to two months in prison but the entirety of the sentence was suspended for 12 months upon Clarke entering into a bond.