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20 May 2022

Delays in alleged €1.5 million drugs case in Kildare Court

Allegations

Delays in alleged €1.5 million drugs case in Kildare Court

The 24-year-old defendant previously appeared before the courthouse on Monday, May 9. File Photograph: Naas District Court

The case of an Albanian man accused of harbouring €1.5 million worth of drugs in Newbridge has been delayed due to the absence of a translator at Naas District Court on Thursday, May 12.

The court was told by solicitor Fergal Boyle, who represented Klevist Shehaj, with an address listed as 20 Liffey Mill, Athgarvan, Newbridge, that a translator would be required for his client.

However, it was revealed that the Albanian translator required was absent due to illness.

The 24-year-old defendant previously appeared before the courthouse on Monday, May 9.

Mr Shehaj is accused of harbouring approximately €420,000 of suspected cocaine and €1.12 million of suspected cannabis at
a number of properties in Newbridge, following a search conducted on May 7 last.

Suspected mixing agents and other drug paraphernalia were also seized on the date in question.

The defendant is alleged to have committed two Section 3 offences and two Section 15 offences in contravention of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977.

All of the drugs seized have been sent to Forensic Science Ireland for analysis.

The alleged discovery is the result of a number of Operation Tara searches in Kildare and Meath by An Garda Síochana, which also yielded over €39,000 in cash.

CRITICISM

Judge Desmond Zaidan said to Mr Boyle that he should write a letter of complaint to the service that provides translators for the court.

Although Mr Boyle insisted that his client, who appeared via video link, consented to proceeding without a translator, the judge argued that the lack of a translator left the staff at Naas Courthouse 'running around like headless chickens.

"This is not the first time the service has let the court down, they could have at least had the courtesy to tell us that the translator would be absent," Judge Zaidan said.

The judge also urged Garda Sergeant Jim Kelly to write to the Garda Commissioner about the issue: 'Someone has to spell it out in black and white.

"It is the defendant’s right to have a translator if English isn’t his first language," the judge added.

Judge Zaidan agreed to remand the defendant in custody until the case returns on May 26. 

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