Anonymity for man accused of supplying heroin

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

A judge has made an anonymity order for a man accused of supplying heroin.

District Judge Barney McElholm made the order for the defendant because of a recent ‘very serious’ shooting in the city.

He said it is ‘quite clear that for this type of drug there is a general and continuing threat within this city and I don’t intend to offer any form of succour to the thugs that are behind that threat’.

The defendant, whose name, age and address cannot be published, is charged with being concerned in the supply of heroin and cocaine on May 9.

He is further charged with possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and simple possession of the class A drugs and cannabis.

Derry Magistrates Court heard that police searched the defendants home because they suspected he was involved in drug supply.

The man was present and was arrested because police believed he was under the influence of drugs.

It is alleged he had injected heroin into his groin a short time before police arrived.

An investigating officer told the court there were needles lying about the property and other paraphernalia for the use of heroin.

The defendant was searched and it is alleged officers found two small wraps of heroin.

He also had a quantity of cash.

The man had to be taken to hospital, however the search of his property continued.

It is alleged police found scales with traces of brown powder on them, a clear bag of containing four or five grand of heroin and small quantities of cannabis.

Police also allegedly found three bags of a white rock substance and two mobile phones.

One thousand pounds in cash was also seized with two mobile phone.

The court heard allegations that one of these phones contained a number of ‘concerning messages’.

These allegedly include people asking ‘any gear’ and messages about ‘top work in’.

A message was also found in reference to the recent shooting in which it is alleged the defendant says ‘f****** scumbags. We need to start shooting back’.

Opposing bail, the investigating officer said there is a high risk of further offences.

She said the man has an ‘expensive’ drug habit and previous convictions for drugs offences.

Defence solicitor Seamus Quigley said his client developed an addiction to heroin while in prison, adding that it is the ‘drug of choice’ in there.

He said his client has no trappings of wealth and claims the drugs were for his own personal use.

District Judge refused bail because further offences were ‘a certainty’ as a result of the man’s drug addiction.

‘If it were being suggested that this man could go directly into a lock down institution where he could get treatment but wouldn’t have the ability to simply walk out the door then I would send him there’.

The judge added that the defendant would be unable to ‘simply switch off’ his heroin addiction and his duty is to ‘protect the public from harm’.

The defendant was remanded in custody to appear in court again at a later date.