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Court News : People in Derry fear being shot if they are caught dealing drugs

A police officer told Derry Crown Court this week that 'a majority' of people in the city had a fear of being shot if charged with drug offences.

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A police officer told Derry Crown Court this week that 'a majority' of people in the city had a fear of being shot if charged with drug offences.

She was speaking as a man who was detected by police after they seized his cousin's mobile phone was sentenced for drug offences.

The court heard that the man who had been granted anonymity after he was subjected to a paramilitary style shooting in November 16, 2018 was shot in his own home.

The man admitted being concerned in the supply of cocaine and and cannabis and possessing cocaine on October 20, 2018.
The court heard that police on June 3, 2018 seized a mobile phone from the defendant's cousin.

As a result of an examination of this phone police were seeking the defendant.

White powder
On October 20 that year, the defendant was stopped near his home and seen to put something in his trousers pocket.

Police found a rolled up five pound note with traces of white powder on it and traces of white powder in his pocket.

A subsequent search of his home uncovered a small amount of cocaine.

His mobile phone was seized and an examination of both phones by police revealed messages about drug supply.

The court heard that it seemed to be the case that the supply of drugs was between the defendant and his cousin.

At interview, the defendant admitted being addicted to cocaine and made 'limited admissions.'

The drugs supply was described in court as 'social supply'.

Defence counsel, Stephen Chapman, the man's family in 'a significant way' with the death of a brother through drugs and the fact the man was shot and badly injured requiring a knee replacement. Mr Chapman told the court the defendant had subsequently suffered from PTSD after the shooting which had followed from these court proceedings.

'Reclusive'
He said following the shooting the defendant had become 'quite reclusive'.

Judge Babington said the case stemmed from 'good police work and the police in this city are doing their best to reduce drug use and the misery it causes.'

He told the defendant that he should 'take a look at yourself' and 'think what drugs have done to you.'

Referring to the shooting, the judge said the defendant 'had been treated quite appallingly by elements in society but unfortunately that is what happens.'

He added 'the court deplores what happened to you.'

The man was sentenced to an enhanced combination order of two years probation and 40 hours community service.

The court then heard from a police officer about the anonymity granted to the man after he was shot.

She said that there was no current threat against the individual.

However, the judge said he would leave the anonymity in place.

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