Jailed for offering to supply drugs

A 36-year-old man who police believe was supplying drugs to street dealers has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Brendan Joseph John Harkin, of Carranbane Walk, pleaded guilty to being concerned in an offer to supply of Cannabis and simple possession of the Class B drug between March 2014 and January 2015.

Derry Crown Court heard that police seized a mobile phone from another man in the course of an investigation.

When it was examined, officers found a number of text messages offering to supply Cannabis from a pre-paid, unregistered phone.

Police were able to trace where this phone was topped up to a shop in Shantallow and seized receipts and CCTV.

Police searched Harkin’s home and there was a strong smell of Cannabis in the property.

During the search, officers seized a small bag of Cannabis containing just over five grams, two mobile phones, sim cards and digital scales.

They also found a piece of paper with the mobile number for the unregistered phone written on it.

During police interview, the 36-year-old denied being involved in the supply of drugs but claimed he was a regular user of cannabis.

The court heard the Harkin has a previous conviction for drugs, including possessing Cannabis with intent to supply.

Harkin claimed he used Cannabis for pain relief, but stopped using it because it was ‘bad for his mental health’.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said given this view ‘it is hard to see why he now supplies it to others. This means he knows it is bad for people, but persists in supplying it.’

The judge said the text messages showed Harkin was a ‘middle man supplying to street dealers.’

He added that the defendant is ‘quite clearly involved in the drug scene and previous disposals have not deterred him from further involvement.’

The judge imposed a determinate sentence of two years and eight months, half of which will be spent in custody and half on licence.