Defendant told drug problem 'stops and it stops now'

Defendant told drug problem 'stops and it stops now'

The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.

Staff reporter

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Staff reporter

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Saturday 25 June 2022 22:00

A 27-year-old man, who pleaded guilty to possessing pregablin, has been warned he will go to prison if he consumes any drugs between now and September.

The case of Kyle Keegan, of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan, was heard at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Friday, June 24.

Despite none of the facts being disclosed to the court, Keegan has pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing a Class C controlled drug on July 16 last year.

In his defence, the court was told that Keegan has taken steps to address his drug problem but this wasn’t the viewpoint of District Judge Bernie Kelly after reading a pre-sentence report and his apparent presentation at one of the meetings with probation.

She said: “That may be an explanation probation were given but there would be something seriously in question about your GP if the dosage and regime you were being prescribed left you incapable of functioning while you are engaged in the construction industry in the erection of scaffolding.

“Mr Keegan has a serious drugs problem.

“Either Mr Keegan does something about that or I will.

“The daily cannabis use has to stop as from today.”

A defence solicitor agreed and stated that probation is now seeing his client every Thursday to ensure that this doesn’t happen and argued that a deferred sentence could test his strength to stay off drugs.

DJ Kelly added: “In one syllable, your drug habit has to stop today and it ends completely.

“I don’t accept the explanation provided to probation because I think that any GP who would be prescribing any prescribed medication to the extent it renders you in the shape you were in when you went to probation, especially given your job at work, I doubt if they would do that.

“Moreover, I’d be fairly confident that no medically qualified person would prescribe those sorts of drugs to you if you told them that you took cannabis daily.

“I don’t think the two would blend – so this stops and it stops now.”

The Judge deferred sentencing until September 16 and told the defendant she expected the following.

“Firstly, I want an updated pre-sentence report,” she continued.

“I want you to take no drugs, the only drugs you are allowed are those that are actually prescribed to you by a qualified medical practitioner.

“If the drugs prescribed to you by your doctor are causing you to be unsteady on your feet or slur your words, this was the presentation you presented to probation as, you go back to your GP and tell them that.

“How are you supposed to climb scaffolding if you’re unsteady on your feet? You can’t, can you? You’d be a danger to yourself and to all other co-workers.

“When I say no drugs, I mean no drugs, because even as much as a miniscule amount, will render you a prison sentence on September 16.

“It’s either no drugs or prison, it’s your choice now.

“If on September 16, you have managed no drugs, stay out of trouble and I get a much more positive pre-sentence report, then I will find a way of sentencing you that does not result in the immediate loss of your liberty.”

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