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Westport man given six years after dropping €3k bag of cocaine

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A WESTPORT man who accidentally dropped a package of cocaine worth over €3,000 on a bridge in Westport was sentenced to six years imprisonment after a four year suspended sentence was also reactivated.
Wayne Cooney of 30 Parklands, Newport Road, Westport appeared before last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Criminal Court where he was sentenced for the possession of cocaine and cannabis as well as having to serve four years of a previous sentence for attempted robbery.
The court heard how Mr Cooney, who is now 25, has spent the majority of his life since he was 16 behind bars after he was sentenced in 2010 to eight years imprisonment for stabbing a member of An Garda Siochána, and in 2014 he received a six year sentence for attempted robbery.
Mr Cooney was released from prison in July 2017 but was arrested four months later after a bag of cocaine which he dropped from his bag was found on the street in Westport on November 27, 2017. He was arrested on November 30 after gardaí gained a warrant to search his home and a quantity of cannabis was discovered along with a weighing scales, a a ‘tick list’ containing names and amounts, and a large amount of ziplock bags.
The cocaine which was handed into Westport Garda Station by a member of the public was worth €3,313 while the cannabis was worth €922.
Garda David Timlin agreed with Mr Conor McKenna, counsel for Mr Cooney, that he was not on the gardai’s radar for drugs before the arrest and it was not a sophisticated operation. Mr Cooney has been in custody since his arrest and Mr McKenna argued there will be little hope of rehabilitation for his client if he receives another long sentence.
The court heard Mr Cooney is an only child and is now estranged from his mother and suffers from addiction problems. Mr McKenna said his partner was looking into ways of getting follow-up treatment upon his release from prison.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin commented that Mr Cooney has benefited from the services of the probation services but when he is at liberty he breaks down. “The only thing that is missing is his commitment,” Judge Ó Donnabháin noted.
When Mr Cooney received a six year sentence for attempted robbery, the final four years were suspended on the condition he keeps the peace and is of good behaviour. Mr McKenna asked the court not to reactivate the remaining four years as the drugs conviction was a different type of offence.
However, Judge Ó Donnabháin disagreed saying it was a serious offence and it occurred shortly after his release and he reactivated the four year portion of the sentence.
He accepted that Mr Cooney came from a complicated family background and added that after co-operating for a period with the probation services he reverts back to type. He said he was glad his partner was there to help and rehabilitation was not an easy road, but it will not happen until he takes that turn in the road.
Mr Cooney was sentenced to two years for the drugs offences which were to run consecutive with the four year sentence. Judge Ó Donnabháin suspended the final 12 months on condition he cooperates with the probation services upon his release and attended a drug treatment facility. The sentence was backdated to November 30, 2017.

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