A WESTPORT man who was returned to prison told the local court that he has ruined the first half of his life and wants to make the second half better.
Jonathon Coughlan (33) of 1 Altamont Street, Westport, appeared before last week’s sitting of Castlebar Circuit Court after breaking the terms of his suspended sentence. Mr Coughlan had received a four-year sentence with the final three years suspended for possession of drugs for sale and supply in January 2010.
In June 2011, he broke the terms of his suspended sentence after he was arrested for shoplifting and was brought before Castlebar Circuit Court last October. However, he fled the court, resulting in a bench warrant being issued which was executed last November. He was due to appear before the court in February, but he once again failed to appear and a second bench warrant was issued.
The court was also told that he has since pleaded guilty in the District Court for the possession of drugs and has been in custody since March 8.
Mr Coughlan told the court that he panicked when he fled the court. However he said he was ‘not getting any younger’ and it was time ‘I copped myself on’. He said he was an alcoholic and getting help for his addiction.
He told the court he was convicted for the possession of €10,000 of drugs, which he said was used to pay off debts and feed his addiction.
Mr Eoin Garavan, BL for the defendant, said his client has a seven-year-old child. Mr Coughlan said he had let her down by being in jail but that he would ‘make it up to her eventually’.
“I want to stay away from alcohol,” he said. “I ruined the first half of my life and I want a better second half … Prison has made me realise the bigger picture.”
Judge O’Donnell pointed out that not only had Mr Coughlan failed to comply with the terms of the suspended sentence, he had compounded the matter by twice failing to appear before the court. He said he considered the matter to be very serious and he would therefore ‘partially’ invoke the sentence by sentencing him to eight months’ imprisonment. Mr Coughlan also appeared before Westport District Court where he faced charges of theft and possession of drugs. Judge Mary Devins sentenced him to a total of ten months’ imprisonment which will run concurrent with the eight-month sentence.