Drug dealer declared clinically dead given suspended sentence

A drug dealer who was declared clinically dead after an overdose, leading to a complete personality change, has been given a suspended sentence for possessing approximately €8,000 worth of cannabis.

Francis Kelly (33) had a near-death experience in 2020 and has been drug-free ever since, defence counsel told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

A report from a clinical psychologist confirmed that Kelly’s personality had “undergone a profound change” and he no longer has any interest in using drugs.

Dr Kevin Lambe said it was his opinion that Kelly’s personality change was as a result of being declared clinically dead and suffering a loss of oxygen to the brain.

Kelly, with an address in Donomore Avenue, Tallaght, Dublin, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing cannabis and cocaine for sale or supply within the state on May 4th, 2018.

Garda Colm Mayock told Fergus Foley BL, prosecuting, that Kelly and another man were caught with the drugs in a car park in Saggart after someone called gardaí to report drug dealing in the area. The value of the drugs was €8,400 and Kelly made admissions at the scene.

The accused has 35 previous convictions, mostly for road traffic offences.

‘Watershed moment’

Kieran Kelly BL, defending, handed in a report to the court by Dr Lambe. He said Kelly overdosed in 2020, two years after these offences, adding that it was “a watershed moment for him”.

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Kelly has stopped using drugs and no longer associates with his old peers, the court heard. He is studying computer programming and plans to go on to third-level education.

Judge Melanie Greally said Kelly’s actions on the day went beyond just paying off a debt and were drug dealing. She noted it was a substantial amount of drugs.

However, the judge said it was very satisfying to see that Kelly has fared “extremely well” in his education course, passing his exams with distinction. He is now drug-free and has not come to the attention of gardaí since these offences.

Judge Greally handed down a sentence of 32 months, which she suspended on a number of conditions.

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