‘Deal in drugs and you’re going to jail’

Coleraine Courthouse.
Coleraine Courthouse.

Coleraine District Judge Liam McNally has reiterated his warning that drug dealers must expect jail.

He was speaking after looking through 12 printed pages of mobile phone messages which he said showed it was obvious Samuel Gary Moore (22), of Lismurphy Avenue in Coleraine, was dealing not just to friends but to “all and sundry” in the town.

Moore was charged with possession of cannabis and possession of the Class B drug with intent to supply relating to February 2 this year.

Police found six bags of drugs with a total street value of £125 in a bedroom along with a grinder, scales and a mobile phone.

Moore made admissions to police that the drugs for himself and initially denied supplying drugs but a prosecutor said the messages on the phone indicated he was supplying and he later admitted that offence. A defence lawyer said a pre-sentence report showed Moore had an awareness of the detrimental impact of drugs not just on himself and his family but on the wider community.

The court heard it claimed the defendant got into drugs due to the breakdown of his parents’ lengthy marriage.

The lawyer said Moore instructed him he had abstained from taking drugs since the date of the offences;

He claimed his client was supplying the drugs to a small group of friends and there was no financial gain.

Judge McNally asked to be shown 12 pages of text messages taken from the phone and after reading them he said the matter was more serious than he initially thought and he ordered the defendant to be placed in custody at the courthouse while he considered the matter.

Around an hour later he told Moore: “It is quite obvious you were supplying drugs to all and sundry in Coleraine and not just a group of friends.”

He said it was fortunate for the defendant the case was being dealt with in the Magistrates Court and not the Crown Court where sentences are greater.

Judge McNally said he had made it quite clear that those who supply drugs must expect a custodial sentence and he said Moore’s was a very clear case of substantial drug dealing. He jailed Moore for four months who was released on £500 bail for appeal.