Drug dealer given ‘benefit of the doubt’

A judge has given a man who was dealing cannabis ‘the benefit of the doubt’ by suspending a jail sentence.

Judge Philip Babington gave 23-year-old Daniel Paul McLaughlin ‘a chance’ when he appeared at the city’s Crown Court earlier this week.

McLaughlin, of Broomy Lane, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply on November 21, last year.

The court heard that police saw two vehicles parked near the gates of a GAA Club in the Cornshell Fields area.

Officers approached McLaughlin’s car and during a search found seven small bags of cannabis in the glove compartment. Almost £200 in cash was also discovered.

The 23-year-old was arrested and after caution claimed that his mother had given him the money.

A further £420 was found in his clothing when he was searched at the police station.

Officers then carried out a search of McLaughlin’s home and found more drugs and two sets of scales in a shed.

The court heard a total of 110 grams of cannabis were found, with a street value of £960.

It was revealed the 23-year-old does not have any previous drugs convictions.

Defence counsel David Heraghty said the offences were ‘wholly out of character’ for McLaughlin. He added that the court can be ‘reasonably confident he is not going to be involved in this sort of activity again’.

Suspending a nine month jail term for three years, Judge Babington said it was clear McLaughlin has been ‘drug dealing for some time’.

He said the 23-year-old was involved in street level dealing and ‘corrupting innocents’ in the way of drugs. However, the judge gave McLaughlin the benefit of the doubt.