Coalisland cannabis dealer tried to destroy phone to ‘protect customers’

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A man with Asperger’s Syndrome tried to stamp on his phone to avoid getting his drug customers in trouble, a court has heard.

Appearing before East Tyrone Magistrate’s Court to be sentenced was Darragh Campbell, 24, from Millbrook in Coalisland.

He had already been convicted of possession of cannabis with intent to supply, obstruction of police, and possession of cannabis.

The court heard how, on the evening of August 23 2014, police came upon a Mazda car on Stewartstown Road. The smell of cannabis was coming from the vehicle.

The defendant handed the police a bag of cannabis and went to wait by the side of the road while the officers uncovered three further bags of the drug.

The constables saw Campbell speaking on his mobile phone as they conducted the search and he refused to hand it over, instead attempting to destroy the phone.

He had to be restrained as he continued attempting to destroy his phone.

Under interview he told police that the phone contained information about his customers and that he hadn’t wanted to get them in trouble.

He further stated that he had the intention of selling the drugs - 2g worth an estimated £30 - to help support his sick mother for whom he was carer.

“This was his first foray into drug dealing,” his solicitor told the court.

“He fully accepts that he has been stupid. In the 20 months since he has only come to the attention of police on motoring matters.

“He is very anxious about the prospect of going to jail.”

Handing down sentences totalling two months imprisonment which he suspended for two years, District Judge John Meehan told the defendant: “You were diagnosed at a young age with Asperger’s ... and have difficulty understanding how serious this is.

“I trust that with ongoing family support you will have taken onboard that you should not take, let alone deal, in drugs.

“Either you understand that you must not do this again or you will go to prison.”