Grandad jailed over cocaine find
Belfast man had bag containing 3kg of drug when car was stopped by policeMichael
A grandfather who was caught with almost three kilos of cocaine has been jailed for 12 months.
Belfast Crown Court heard that Hugh Brady was stopped by police after he failed to find the drop-off location for the drugs.
The 50-year-old from Molyneaux Street in the city was told by Judge Gordon Kerr that he will serve one year in prison, with another year spent on licence upon his release.
Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said Brady's car was stopped on the Sydenham bypass on the evening of May 27 last year following information received by police.
Officers saw a large shopping bag containing white power lying in the front passenger area of the vehicle.
When Brady was asked what the white powder was, he told police he didn't know. When he was arrested for possession of drugs, Brady said: "I was forced."
Mr Jenkins said that when the white power was analysed it was found to be cocaine with a purity of around 9 to 10%.
A total of 12 bags of the Class A drug were found within the shopping bag, amounting to 2.992 kilos with a street value of around £180,000.
During interview, Brady made the case that he was approached by a man he refused to name, who told him to collect the shopping bag from the Falls Road and take it to a car showroom in Bangor where someone would meet him.
Brady claimed that when he got to Bangor, he couldn't find the showroom.
He said he started to panic and was driving back to Belfast when he was stopped by police.
Mr Jenkins said that after Brady admitted he wasn't paid by the unnamed man, he "didn't provide an adequate explanation as to why he chose to collect and transport the drugs".
The prosecutor also revealed that Brady - who subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing cocaine with intent to supply - had no previous convictions for drugs offences.
Defence barrister Chris Holmes said his client was a family man with children and grandchildren, adding that Brady being sent to prison will have a "devastating effect" on his family. Telling the court that Brady was approached by someone he knew to be in a paramilitary organisation, Mr Holmes spoke of the "amateur way" in which Brady acted, especially given his failure to find the car showroom in Bangor.
Mr Holmes also said the offending was "entirely out of character".
Handing Brady the custodial sentence, Judge Kerr branded the offence as "serious".
He also ordered that the drugs seized are destroyed.