30 Jun 2022

Tipperary heroin addict who 'literally wasted' €150,000 on cars and drugs is jailed

Tipperary heroin addict who 'literally wasted' €150,000 on cars and drugs is jailed

Tipperary heroin addict who 'literally wasted' €150,000 on cars and drugs is jailed

A Tipperary man who spent €150,000 on drugs and cars over an 18-month period has been jailed for a total 21 months by Nenagh District Court for a litany of offences.

However, Judge Elizabeth MacGrath suspended six months of the sentence.

Roy Forde, with an address given as 47 Cormack Drive, Nenagh, had pleaded at earlier courts to 30 charges that included possession of heroin and cocaine, cannabis, sale and supply of drugs, drug driving, dangerous driving, no insurance, no driver’s licence, criminal damage, non-display of a tax disc and no NCT, being unlawfully at large and theft between August 20, 2020, and March 21, 2022.

Mr Forde, who was already in custody since mid-April, had been remanded in continuing custody by Judge MacGrath at the same court on May 13 to last Friday for sentencing.

“You have a very bad record,” Judge MacGrath told Mr Forde. “You still don’t seem to understand the risk you are putting people in. I have to consider public safety and the six-month suspended sentence will allow you to deal with your issues.”

She set recognizance in the event of an appeal in Mr Forde’s own bond of €500, with an independent surety of €1,000, €750 of which was to be in cash and lodged in court and to be approved by the court.

She also set a condition that Mr Forde not drive in public should he lodge an appeal.

At the court on May 13, solicitor Liz McKeever, for Mr Forde, had said that her client had been a heroin addict for a long number of years, but was now on a methadone programme, which was the first stage to dealing with heroin addiction.

The State had objected to Mr Forde getting free legal aid on the basis that he had received €150,000 in compensation in a civil case and they were not satisfied he had no funds.

However, solicitor David Peters renewed an application by Ms McKeever for free legal aid.

Judge MacGrath had requested Mr Forde on May 13 to bring a bank balance to the court to show he had no funds, and she said she was not happy with what had been provided.

Mr Forde said that the highest balance he had had in the account was €21,204 and the full figure would have been €150,000 which he received two years ago.

“It was put into my bank account but they told me to go to an alternative bank as they were not happy with the way money was being spent,” he said.

Mr Forde said that €80,000 had been transferred to a new bank but he had “blown it on cars and motorbikes”.

Asked about two transactions totalling €16,500, Mr Forde said the money could have been spent on cars, tractors and motorbikes

“I have no other bank account,” he told the judge. “I have two cars worth about €6,000 or €7,000 each. I have never paid for a solicitor.”

Judge MacGrath said that, noting Mr Forde’s lifestyle, it was “not unreasonable to accept he literally wasted the money and there were no funds to pay a solicitor.

She granted free legal aid and backdated it to when Mr Forde was first charged.

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