Kill man found with cocaine by undercover garda at Naas Court Hotel

Trial at Naas District Court last week

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Kill man found with cocaine by undercover gardaí at Naas Court Hotel

The case was heard in Naas

A young Kill man has been found guilty of possession of cocaine and with supplying it to others.

Simon Heaps, 23, with an address listed as 2 The Close, Earls Court, Kill was spotted by an undercover Garda in the Court Hotel, Naas, on August 13, 2017.

At Naas District Court on Wednesday, July 25, Mr Heaps pleaded guilty to possession of the drug, but not to the more serious charge of possession for sale or supply.

Evidence was given by gardai of an undercover operation in the nightclub on the night in question.

Garda Louise Fleming said she was in plain clothes in the nightclub that night and that she spotted the defendant putting his driving license into a bag, taking it out with cocaine on it and offering it around.

Gardai outside the nightclub were alerted to the defendant who they arrested, and searched.

He made admissions to paying €120 for what he said he believed was two grams of the drug. Gardai put it to him that it was considerably more, up to €300 worth. They estimated that it was 5.5 grams, whereas later analysis revealed that it was 4.5 grams.

Gardai said the defendant was cooperative at the time, although he strenuously denied that he was supplying anyone, or buying any more than was required for personal use.

He said he had bought the drug with alcohol on board. “A lot of stupid things get done with you have drink taken,” he told the Gardai, according his statement which was read out in court.

The Garda witness indicated that 4.5 grams was more than he believed would be used by one person.

Mr Heaps’ barrister put it to Garda Fleming that her statement made no mention of his client using his driver’s license in this manner or passing it around.

Both counsel, and Judge Desmond Zaidan, noted that this detail was the crucial difference between a charge of simple possession of the drug and the more serious charge of supplying it.

Garda Fleming admitted that it was an error on her part to omit this information from her statement, but said that she was “100% certain” of her claim.

In his evidence, the defendant said that he was not a regular drug taker and wouldn’t necessarily have known the difference in amounts.

He added that it had been a year since he had last taken drugs.

He said he had had perhaps three or four drinks in the nightclub. He said he had drink taken, but could still remember much of the night, including being arrested and questioned.

The defendant works and earns about €350 per week.

In cross examination, it was put to the defendant that Garda Fleming had no reason to tell lies about her evidence.

“Why didn’t she put it in her statement so?” he asked.

“I don’t believe she has an axe to grind,” the Garda Inspector put it to him.

Concluding, Judge Zaidan said he believed the prosecution had proven its case beyond all reasonable doubt.

However, he said that he conscious that this was very much on the lower end of the scale of supplying drugs, and also mindful of the consequences a conviction could have on the young man.

He recommended that the defendant speak to the Probation team, emphasising to his barrister that “it could be to your client’s advantage” and that he was “prepared to be reasonable”.

The matter was adjourned to November 2.