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Family man caught with cocaine and cannabis had been ‘living two lives’

Five months jail for man caught while under suspended sentence imposed for similar offence

Craigavon Court

A Portadown family man caught with cannabis and cocaine whilst serving a suspended sentence for a similar offence has been sentenced to five months in prison.

Court heard the 27-year-old was given a suspended sentence in September of last year, but was found in possession again in January.

Daire Watson, of Old Fort Lodge, pleaded guilty to possession of Class A and B drugs at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Court heard that on January 9 at around 9.40pm police stopped the defendant driving a Volkswagen Golf and noted a strong smell of cannabis.

Upon searching the vehicle officers found a quantity of cocaine.

Watson also handed over to police a large plastic bag of herbal cannabis.

He was subsequently taken to Lurgan Custody Suite where he gave full admissions but when questioned on the suspicion of dealing the defendant made no comment.

Defence barrister Aaron Thompson said this was a “substantial amount of drugs” and although it was not for him to comment his client may have faced more serious charges.

It was heard that Watson worked full time and had three children, with his pre-sentence report indicated a man preoccupied with family.

However, Mr Thompson said he had told the defendant that District Judge Bernie Kelly would take the view “a man who cared about his children would not be involved in drugs”.

Court heard that despite breaching a suspended sentence Watson had been ranked as having a low likelihood of reoffending.

Mr Thompson commented that the defendant, who has eight GCSEs and is employed as a trainee welder, had been living two lives, one of which involved heavy drug use.

He added that Watson had put his liberty “fairly and squarely at risk”.

Judge Kelly said her “mind boggled” at how a man so “preoccupied with his children would offend so soon after being handed a suspended sentence”.

And she pointed to the fact the offences had increased as they now included the possession of a Class A substance.

Watson was sentenced to three months in prison for these offences with two months being invoked from his suspended sentence which are to run consecutively to each other.

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