Belfast grandfather caught with cocaine worth £180k jailed

A Belfast grandfather who was caught with almost three kilos of cocaine was starting a two-year sentence on Monday.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th April 2016, 5:22 pm
Updated Monday, 18th April 2016, 8:20 pm

Belfast Crown Court heard that Hugh Brady was stopped by police after he failed to locate the drop-off point for the drugs.

The 50-year-old, from Molyneaux Street, was told by Judge Gordon Kerr that he will serve half this sentence in prison, with the remaining year spent on licence upon his release.

Prosecutor Simon Jenkins said Brady’s car was stopped on the Sydenham Bypass on the evening of May 27 last year following information received by police.

Officers saw a large shopping bag containing white power lying in the front passenger’s area of the vehicle.

When Brady was asked what the white powder was, he told police he didn’t know.

When he was arrested for possession of drugs, Brady said: “I was forced.”

Mr Jenkins said that when the white powder was analysed, it was found to be cocaine with a purity of around nine to 10 per cent.

A total of 12 bags of the Class A drug were found within the shopping bag, amounting to 2.992 kilos with a street value of around £180,000.

During interview, Brady made the case that he was approached by a man he refused to name, who told him to collect the shopping bag from the Falls Road and take it to a car showroom in Bangor where someone would meet him.

Brady made the case that when he got to Bangor he couldn’t find the showroom.

He said he started to panic and was driving back to Belfast when he was stopped by police.

Mr Jenkins said that after Brady admitted he wasn’t paid by the unnamed man, Brady “didn’t provide an adequate explanation as to why he chose to collect and transport the drugs”.

The prosecutor also revealed that Brady - who subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing cocaine with intent to supply - had no previous convictions for drugs offences.

Defence barrister Chris Holmes said his client was a family man with children and grandchildren, adding that Brady being sent to prison will have a “devastating effect” on his family.

Telling the court that Brady was approached by someone he knew to be in a paramilitary organisation, Mr Holmes spoke of the “amateur way” in which Brady acted - especially given his failure to find the car showroom in Bangor.

Mr Holmes also said that the offending was “entirely out of character”.

Handing Brady the two-year sentence, Judge Kerr branded the offence as “serious”.

He also ordered that the drugs seized are destroyed.