Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Ceisteanna (292)

John Curran

Ceist:

292. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons convicted for possession of drugs with a value of more than €13,000; the number that received sentences of less than one year, one to three years, three to five years, five to ten years and more than ten years, respectively; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8237/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

As the Deputy is aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions, which includes the provision of information on the courts system.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has advised that Section 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977 provides for the offence relating to possession of drugs with a value of in excess of €12,500. This is an indictable offence that is heard in the Circuit Court.

The Courts Service has further advised that the Circuit Court statistics are not compiled in such a way as to provide information requested by the Deputy with regard to specific offences such as offences under Section 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977 as requested by the Deputy.

The Courts Service has informed me that statistics in relation to Drugs Offences dealt with in the Circuit Court in 2017, which would include Section 15A offences, are provided in the Annual Report 2017 and are set out in the following table.

Circuit Court – Drugs Offences 2017

Drugs

Number

Offences

1,955

Defendants*

557

Guilty pleas

1,158

Trials - Convicted

16

Trials - Acquitted

22

Nolle prosequi

620

TIC non-conviction

174

Quash return for trial

0

Accused deceased

2

Note: * There may be more than one offence brought against a defendant.

The Courts Service is currently compiling the 2018 statistics which should be finalised in the coming weeks.

The Courts Service has advised that given the variation in sentences imposed and the fact that the suspended element of a sentence varies from cases to case, it is not possible to categorise the data in relation to the length of sentence as requested by the Deputy.