Belfast Telegraph

Drug-dealing former addict narrowly avoids jail after 'turning life around'

By George Jackson

A 23-year-old man who was described in court as having been a "hardcore drugs user for three years" has been given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for three years.

Edward Maguire pleaded guilty at the Crown Court in Londonderry to intent to supply and supplying quantities of class A drugs to friends over a six-month period starting in December 2014.

Quantities of the drugs, together with weighing scales and £3,340 in cash, were found when police searched his Moat Street home under the Misuse of Drugs Act in May 2015.

Police also found numerous text messages on Maguire's mobile phone relating to the supply of the drugs.

One of the text messages referred to "grenades and monkeys" and another said: "I could be making some serious dough if I had some wingers."

When he was arrested by the police Maguire made full and immediate admissions and told officers: "There are reasons, but there are no excuses for what I have done."

He also said: "I could have killed someone."

Maguire told police that cash they found under a blanket on top of a cabinet in his home was for paying debts to his supplier.

Defence barrister Ivor McAteer told Judge Philip Babington that his client thanked officers after they arrested him and said he was obliged to them.

Mr McAteer said Maguire supplied friends with the drugs to feed his own addiction but he has since moved on with his life in a positive manner.

He was now a qualified electrician who had worked, since his arrest, in the Bahamas, the US, London and Dublin, and he currently worked in a managerial capacity earning €2,000 per week for a company in Geneva in Switzerland.

The barrister said that since his arrest Maguire had also worked in a voluntary capacity with the drugs counselling charity Hurt as well as with the Western Health and Social Care Trust. Mr McAteer handed in to the court several character references, including one from his client's current employer in Switzerland.

"He has rebuilt and regenerated his life following an at times tragic family background," Mr McAteer said.

"He is one of almost 20 siblings and step-siblings, and although they are furious with him, his family is supportive of him.

"He also realises the potential for harm which his drugs offending could have caused.

"He does not wish to minimise his offending and he accepts that the custody threshold has been passed, but the change in his life circumstances has been truly remarkable", he added. Judge Babington said that the author of a pre-sentence report stated that Maguire, having reflected on his offending, believes his actions were the biggest mistake of his life and that he had an appreciation of victim awareness.

The judge said the police now believed that Maguire had managed to turn his life around for the better.

However, Judge Babington said it was with some considerable hesitation that he was suspending the 18-month jail sentence.

The judge also fined Maguire £1,500 and ordered that the cash seized in his home should be shared between three local charities.

Belfast Telegraph

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