A Tralee man has said he had 66 counterfeit €10 notes in his possession to “catch a lad out”.
ony O’Brien (27) of 74 Shanakill, Tralee, appeared before a special district court sitting at Tralee Courthouse charged with possession of €200 worth of cocaine for sale or supply; and for possession of the counterfeit notes.
During a search by Gardaí at Mr O’Brien’s address on the evening of May 5, 2020, he handed over cocaine, stored in small bags, to the guards. Gardaí also found drug paraphernalia such as mini weighing scales at the address.
Mr O’Brien had 66 counterfeit €10 notes in his bedroom, and he explained to Gardaí that he had these to “catch a lad out”.
The court heard that he has 23 previous convictions, including one in 2015 for possession of drugs to the value of €175. He was sentenced to nine months in prison in 2006 for assault causing harm and three counts of criminal damage.
Mr O’Brien’s defence solicitor, Nuala Liston, handed in medical documents to the court and explained that her client suffered with mental-health issues such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. She said he had not been in trouble “for quite a period of time” but had become quite depressed when mental-health issues and COVID times came together.
She said he accepts that he shouldn’t have done what he did, and she pointed to his co-operation with Gardaí and immediate admissions.
She said this incident was “a slip”. She added that she had been of the understanding that her client never intended to pass the counterfeit notes off, but noted “an innocence” in the explanation he gave to Gardaí for possessing these notes.
Judge David Waters took Mr O’Brien’s co-operation and guilty plea into account, and he said he would deal with the matter by way of a suspended sentence. He sentenced him to four months in prison on both charges, with both sentences suspended for one year.