A 24-year-old man caught on CCTV last July drug dealing on the front lawn of Belfast’s City Hall, was sentenced to 14 months in jail today (Wednesday), for his “blatant act”.
Judge Geoffrey Miller QC also told Michael James Mark McGann that a custodial sentence was not only called for, but justified as the court must send out a clear signal that such street dealing would not be tolerated.
McGann, a father of two, from Glengormley Park, Newtownabbey, with 42 previous convictions, including five for involvement with drugs, pleaded guilty to possession of Cannabis, have the Class B drug with intent to supply and possession of over £400 in criminal property.
Prosecution lawyer Simon Jenkins told the city Crown Court that on July 24 last year McGann was spotted on CCTV by City Hall security staff taking a package from under the wasteband of his trousers and handing it over to another male.
Mr Jenkins said police who arrested McGann found three other packages of Cannabis together with £410 in cash. Initially he made a ‘no comment’ interview, but in a second denied drug dealing, claiming he was there to buy drugs and that the cash came from a friend repaying a previous loan.
Defence barrister Michael Boyd said that despite McGann reverting back to these claims in his presentence report, he did aknowledge his guilt, and that it was “clear as the light of day” that he had been drug dealing.
Mr Boyd said McGann involvement in this particular enterprise was to feed his own addiction and to pay for his own drugs. However, since then he has begun to reflect on his situation in life with a growing realisation he is getting “a bit long in the tooth for being involved in this kind of thing”.
Judge Miller, who ordered McGann serve seven months in custody, followed by a similar period on licence, directed that the cash found on him should be given to charity.