29-year-old man jailed for supplying cocaine and cannabis

A judge has said that a man who sold cannabis and cocaine to fund his own habit ‘has little or no understanding of the evils of drug supply’.

Tuesday, 22nd January 2019, 8:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:21 pm
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

Judge Philip Babington made the comment as he jailed 29-year-old Paul Doherty for two and a half years.

The judge described the defendant as an ‘essential cog in the system’.

Doherty, of Moore Walk, will serve half this sentence in custody and the remaining half on licence in the community.

The 29-year-old admitted being concerned in an offer to supply cocaine and cannabis and being concerned in the supply of the latter between July 2016 and November 2017.

Derry Crown Court heard that police began an investigation in July 2016 after they observed a male on Lone Moor Road discard a bag.

The officers had wanted to stop and search this male, however he ran off.

The bag contained over 27 grams of cannabis in two sandwich bags.

The packaging was forensically examined and Doherty’s fingerprints were found.

The defendant was arrested in November 2017 and during a search he was found to be in possession of a list of names, which police believed to be a ‘strap list’.

Doherty’s home was searched and officers seized £195 in cash, two mobile phones, deal bags, scales and the remnants of drugs.

The phones were examined and several hundred messages relating to drug supply were found.

It was revealed the vast majority of these messages related to the supply of cannabis.

During police interview, Doherty made no comment to the majority of questions. However, he did tell police that his fingerprints would be on the bags as the person who dropped them had been staying at his house.

The court also heard that Doherty has 11 previous convictions, three of them for drugs offences.

Passing sentence, Judge Babington said it was clear the defendant ‘had enough trust with some of his customers to allow them to access drugs and pay for them later’ and that this arrangement had been ‘long standing’.

He said Doherty’s substance abuse began when he was involved in a car accident in 2008 and he was ‘selling effectively to fund his own habit’. The judge said he was ‘quite satisfied’ the defendant was involved in drug supply and has ‘shown little or no remorse and little or no understanding of the evils of drug supply’.

“He may be at the bottom of the food chain but was highly involved and clearly had his position in the drug supply chain.”

The judge said the 29-year-old is an ‘essential cog in the system’.

Judge Babington added that drug supply is a serious offence and a custodial sentence is ‘inevitable’.