Anonymity order granted to man accused of dealing heroin

The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.
The courthouse at Bishop Street, Derry.

District Magistrate Barney McElholm, has made an anonymity order for a man accused of supplying heroin.

He made the order for the defendant because of a recent very serious shooting in the city, saying: “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 and is further charged with possessing heroin and cocaine with intent to supply and simple possession of the Class A drugs, as well as cannabis.

The Magistrates’ Court heard that police searched the defendant’s 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 was alleged he had injected heroin shortly before police arrived.

The court was told there were needles and other heroin paraphernalia lying around the property and police found two small wraps of the drug and £1,000 in cash, scales with traces of brown powder on them; a clear bag of containing four or five grams of heroin and small quantities of cannabis, as well as three bags of a white rock substance and two mobile phones.

The phones contained a number of concerning messages about dealing and monetary values, police said.

A message was also found in reference to the recent shooting in which it was alleged the defendant said “f------ scumbags. We need to start shooting back”.

District Judge McElholm was told the accused had not been interviewed because he was deemed unfit by a doctor; He had to be taken to hospital on a number of occasions during his time in police custody.

Opposing bail, the investigating officer said there was a high risk of further offences and it was highlighted that the man had an expensive drug habit and previous convictions for drugs offences.

The officer said police were not aware of any specific threat towards the man, however, it was acknowledged there was a very real general threat towards those accused of involvement with heroin.

Seamus Quigley, defending, said his client developed an addiction to heroin while in prison, but no trappings of wealth and claimed the drugs were for his own use.

Refusing bail, Judge McElholm said the defendant would be unable to switch off his heroin addiction and remanded in custody to appear in court again at a later date.

“The problems with drug use and abuse within the walls of the prison were well documented. That shouldn’t be happening but it is,” the District Judge said.