Belfast Telegraph

Man who was victim of paramilitary assault jailed for drug dealing

A man who was once the victim of a paramilitary assault has been jailed for a year for drug dealing offences (Niall Carson/PA)
A man who was once the victim of a paramilitary assault has been jailed for a year for drug dealing offences (Niall Carson/PA)

By John Cassidy

A Co Antrim man who was once the victim of a “savage” paramilitary assault has been jailed for a year for drug dealing offences.

Lawyers for Eamon Clarke said the attack had “put him on a bad tangent” and his mental health had been badly affected.

Clarke (30), of Abbeyville Place, Newtownabbey had pleaded guilty to possessing cocaine with intent to supply and also having a small quantity of cannabis.

Belfast Crown Court heard that in September 2017, police searched a Volkswagen Golf car in an underground car park in south Belfast.

A search of the car’s boot revealed a carrier bag containing the cocaine.

Scales and a hydraulic press were found behind the rear wheel of a car parked beside the VW Golf.

A prosecution lawyer said the cocaine was found to weigh 288 grammes and a forensic test revealed it had a 92% purity.

During follow-up searches, police also recovered a small quantity of cannabis and £3,247 in cash.

Defence barrister Richard McConkey told Judge Kevin Finnegan that Clarke had been the subject of a “savage” paramilitary attack five years ago.

In 2013, a court heard Clarke had been the subject of a paramilitary death threat and had been told he had 24 hours to leave the country.

Mr McConkey said Clarke was diagnosed with ADHD and urged the court to assist the defendant with his difficulties and allow him to take part in a ‘Thinking Skills’ programme as part of any sentence imposed. He said this would take 18 months to complete with the Probation Service.

Judge Finnegan said he had a received a letter from the defendant’s mother, which he described as “one of the warmest letters I have read in a long time and you should be grateful for your mother.”

The judge sentenced Clarke to 12 months in custody followed by 18 months on probation to carry out the ‘Thinking Skills’ course.

He ordered the drugs and drug-related paraphernalia to be destroyed and made a forfeiture order on the seized cash.

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