Special Criminal Court
A "model prisoner" who has helped fellow inmates to quit alcohol and drugs since being charged with possession of €1.25 million worth of heroin has been jailed for seven years by the Special Criminal Court.
Delivering sentence today, Justice Paul Coffey said heroin is "ruinous" to individuals, families and society in general and while the defendant Michael Brady was not the dominant person in the criminal gang, "he was trusted by that gang to look after a substantial quantity of heroin."
Brady is a brother of Declan Brady, 53, who is known as 'Mr Nobody' and who was jailed for 11.5 years earlier this month for minding a weapons arsenal on behalf of an international organised crime group.
The court heard that gardai initially failed to find the drugs during a raid on the house and they were later found by the owner of the house stashed, along with an assault rifle, in the bed base. Gardaí seized a 7.62 x 39mm calibre VZ 58 assault rifle and a variety of ammunition. Brady was found not guilty by the three-judge non-jury court of possessing the cocaine and cannabis.
Michael Brady, 54, with an address in south Dublin, was found guilty in June of possessing the drugs at an apartment at Sallins Bridge, in Sallins, Naas, Co Kildare on January 24, 2017.
His trial heard that €1.25 million worth of heroin, €1.5 million worth of cocaine and €1,000 worth of cannabis were found at the premises, in the base of one of the beds. Gardaí also seized a 7.62 x 39mm calibre VZ 58 assault rifle and a variety of ammunition.
Brady was found not guilty by the three-judge non-jury court of possessing the cocaine and cannabis. He had earlier been found not guilty of possessing the assault rifle by direction of the court. Another charge accusing him of possessing three ammunition magazines was also withdrawn by the State. Brady had denied all charges.
Brady's lawyers argued at a sentence hearing earlier this month that he was not significantly involved in the criminal organisation and that his role in looking after the drugs was at the "lowest end".
Justice Coffey today said that Brady was not involved in the buying or selling of the drug or in the planning of any criminal activity but he was above the level of a mule and was trusted by the gang.
Given the quantity of heroin and its "ruinous" effect on society, Justice Coffey set ten years as the headline sentence. He reduced that to eight years and six months after taking into consideration a report by a prison addiction counsellor which detailed Brady's success in overcoming his own addiction.
Justice Coffey said he would also suspend the final 18 months of the sentence after noting that Brady has achieved a status as an "enhanced prisoner". He is, Justice Coffey said, largely responsible for the availability of alcohol and drug treatment programmes for his fellow prisoners and has helped others to stop taking drugs and alcohol.
He added; "He is a model prisoner in his mid-50s with a family to whom he is devoted." The sentence was backdated to April 12, 2017 when he first went into custody.
At a sentence hearing earlier this month Justice Coffey said that Michael Brady's brother Declan Brady was the target of the garda surveillance operation that resulted in the arrests of the two men and the seizure of a large quantity of drugs and an "arsenal" of firearms.
Declan Brady, 53, was jailed for 10-and-a-half years on July 15 for minding the firearms and ammunition at Unit 52, Block 503, Grants Drive, Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole, Co Dublin.
The Special Criminal Court found Declan Brady was tasked by senior criminal figures abroad to supervise the arsenal that was assembled to “support and sustain organised crime of the most serious nature”.
Justice Coffey, presiding alongside Judge Gerard Griffin and Judge David McHugh, found Michael Brady guilty of heroin possession after his fingerprints were found on two blocks of heroin found in the base of a bed, showing there had been "direct contact".
Justice Coffey said there was "compelling evidence" to prove that the accused man knew about the drugs. However, there was no evidence to connect him to the cocaine and cannabis.
Justice Coffey said Michael Brady had told gardai in his interviews that he was looking after dogs belonging to his brother Declan at Sallins Bridge and had been living there for the previous eight months. The defendant had also told gardai that he did not know why ammunition was in the house and said he lived a separate life to his brother.
The judge said that the accused had given evidence in the trial that he was in Sallins Bridge to look after dogs and he knew nothing about drugs, a rifle or ammunition. When asked about his fingermarks which were found on blocks of drugs in the base of the bed, the defendant said he could have accidentally touched the packets in the house without knowing he had done so, said the judge.
The prosecution’s case was that the accused’s fingerprints were found on six items in the base of a bed, including a block of diamorphine and Justice Coffey said the State’s case was advanced by circumstantial evidence that Michael Brady had been living at the address “on and off” for about a year and had unrestricted access to the room in which the items were found.
Justice Coffey said the court was satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that it was not an “unfortunate coincidence” that the defendant’s fingerprints were found on six items concealed under the base of the bed. Brady also chose to give a false name and address to gardai upon his arrest, said the judge.
The court rejected the suggestion by the defence that it was reasonably possible that persons not before the court had entered the premises between January 24 and 28 and placed the drugs in the base of the bed.