A father-of-two from Newtownabbey who admitted supplying cocaine to a group of friends has escaped being sent to jail.
William Doyle – who coaches a boys football team in Rathcoole – said he supplied the Class A drug to around 16 peers to fund his own cocaine habit which escalated due to a trauma within his family.
The 35-year old, from East Way, pleaded guilty to supplying cocaine and also possessing Diazepam tablets, after his home was searched by police on September 17 last year.
Handing Doyle a 12-month prison sentence, which was suspended for two years, Judge Patricia Smyth said she was taking into account Doyle’s work history as well as several references which were handed to her.
This included a letter from Councillor Thomas Hogg, the current mayor of Newtownabbey and Antrim.
Belfast Crown Court heard that when Doyle’s home was searched last September, a total of 79 Diazepam tablets were located on top of a wardrobe, while a coat containing drugs paraphernalia was found in another bedroom.
Located in the coat was £2,000 in cash as well self-sealing bags which contained traces of cocaine and a mobile phone which contained texts that police believe were related to drugs.
Crown prosecutor Simon Jenkins said that a second sum of money and sponsorship forms were located in the kitchen.
When he was arrested and interviewed, Doyle initially made the case that both the cocaine and the Diazepam were for his personal use.
He later admitted that he had been supplying cocaine to a small group of around 16 friends.
Defence barrister Denis Boyd, instructed by Reavey and Co Solicitors, pointed out that the small amount of cocaine found during the search were traces found in bags and a set of scales.
Revealing that in recent years Doyle had been using cocaine for “recreational purposes” with friends, Mr Boyd said his client’s drugs use increased when a young relative became very ill.
Mr Boyd also revealed that the sponsorship forms and money found in the kitchen were the fruits of Doyle’s fund-raising efforts for his relative.
Mr Boyd also told Judge Smyth that since his arrest, Doyle has sought help for his drugs use, and is now drugs-free.
Passing sentence, Judge Smyth noted that the amount of cocaine seized was “extremely small”.
She also noted that Doyle would lose his long-standing employment if sent to jail, and said that this and the fact he had “taken steps” to tackle his addiction were reasons why she was suspending the jail term.