Limerick Judge takes a ‘chance’ in not jailing drug dealer

Donal walker leaving Limerick Court this Tuesday Picture Credit Press 22


Donal walker leaving Limerick Court this Tuesday Picture Credit Press 22
Donal walker leaving Limerick Court with a suspended prison sentence for dealing drugs 
Picture Credit Press 22

A JUDGE has admitted he is taking a “substantial chance” suspending a prison sentence on a convicted drug dealer who was found with €23,000 worth of cannabis in his home.

On June 2, 2012, Gardaí raided the home of Donal Walker (31) in Kilbane, Castletroy after they received confidential information that he was involved in selling drugs.

Garda Maurice O’Brien told Limerick Circuit Court that he obtained a search warrant and executed it at Walker’s address where Gardaí found evidence of a nine month drug dealing operation.

€23,000 worth of cannabis, €11,800 in cash, a digital scales, self sealing bags and a tick list were found in the house, along with a smoking bong, cannabis and other paraphernalia. He made full admissions to Gardaí after he was arrested.

Judge Tom O’Donnell heard that Walker developed a drug habit and was pressurised to become a dealer after he ran up a considerable debt.

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It was accepted that the business degree graduate was under considerable duress from drug gangs at the time.

There was a delay in the State receiving a certificate of analysis of the drugs from the State laboratory and Judge O’Donnell said it was a most unusual development for Gardaí to give Walker clearance to travel to China for five months in 2014 to work as a teacher.

Despite the delay in the prosecution, he said that the early plea was to Walker’s favour, although the amount of drugs and cash found in his home was of concern.

Expressions of remorse, an acceptance of culpability and efforts to rehabilitate were all positive steps and it was clear he was “way in over his head and matters went from bad to worse”

Judge O’Donnell said the offence carried a presumptive mandatory minimum sentence of ten years but added that the court had the discretion to deviate from that if the circumstances warranted it.

Suspending a three-year prison sentence for three years, Judge O’Donnell said, “I’m taking a substantial chance on this and you owe Garda O’Brien a debt of gratitude in speaking up for you. I don’t want to see you again.”