A father of four who admitted supplying cannabis to pay off debts and fund his own cocaine habit has been jailed for eight months.
Defence lawyer Denis Boyd had urged that 34-year-old William Thomas Cochrane be freed either on a community sentence, or suspended jail term.
However, Belfast Recorder Judge David McFarland said the prevailing policy of the courts in drug cases was the protection of the public, and those supplying drugs must expect to go to jail.
Earlier, prosecution lawyer Simon Jenkins told the Crown Court that in a search of Cochrane’s Kings Avenue home in Newtownabbey on December 17, 2013, police uncovered a quantity of both herbal and cannabis resin, along with cocaine and over £10,000 in cash.
Mr Jenkins said Cochrane initially handed over a black work bag containing a quantity of drugs. However, other drugs were found in the bedroom and in a follow-up search of a garden shed.
Police also recovered the cash, in two envelopes, and a small quantity of cocaine which Cochrane said was for his own use.
Mr Boyd said Cochrane began taking drugs, mostly smoking cannabis with friends, before “dabbling in cocaine” and quickly becoming addicted using it every other day.
The lawyer said Cochrane then began to supply cannabis to friends, essentially to fund his expensive cocaine addiction.
However, since his arrest, Cochrane has been drug free, and had sought help to remain so and to “steel his resolve” to get his “life back on track”.