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Judge concerned about rising drug problems



A DISTRICT court judge has commented that she is very concerned at the level of drug activity in Co Mayo, saying she believes it is escalating.
Judge Fiona Lydon made her comments at the May sitting of Belmullet District Court, where she she warned a Polish national living in Erris that she was inclined to impose a custodial sentence after he was caught in possession of cannabis.
Slawomir Lewczuk (36) of Ballyglass, Belmullet, appeared before Belmullet District Court and pleaded guilty to the possession of cannabis worth €341. The court heard that the drugs were discovered on June 10, 2021, after his residence was searched by gardaí.
Inspector David Tiernan informed the court that Mr Lewczuk had previous convictions for drug offences from February 2015, when he received a community service order for the possession of ecstasy for sale and supply. He was also convicted of possession of cannabis on the same date.
Mr Michael Bohan, solicitor for the defendant said his client has been living in Ireland for the past 15 years and is currently employed. He added that his client has since completed the Prime for Life rehabilitation programme and had attended his GP for urinalysis.
Mr Bohan said his client appreciated where he was in terms of facing another drug conviction and that he had explained the court’s intolerance to this type of behaviour to him.
Judge Lydon commented that she was very concerned for the county of Mayo as she believed the drug problem was escalating. Mr Bohan stated that his client was very concerned that he might be going to jail, and he wanted to prove he was now drug free. He said he knows Mr Lewczuk is at the mercy of the court and has a checkered past, but he pleaded with Judge Lydon not to impose a custodial sentence.
Judge Lydon stated that Mr Lewczuk was given an opportunity in 2015 and it did not seem to have acted as a deterrent, and that she is considering imposing a custodial sentence. However, she agreed to adjourn sentencing until July 13 so that Mr Lewczuk can provide a hair follicle test to prove he is no longer taking drugs.