Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Advocates are delighted to have represented the first client to be sentenced before the new innovative Substance Abuse Court in Laganside Courthouse, Belfast.
Experienced criminal defence lawyer, Diarmaid Kelly, represented a client before the resident District Judge Mrs Fiona Bagnall over a period of 6 months before the client was sentenced this week.
The client had successfully complied with all Court directions and regular drug testing at each court appearance in addition to accessing the professional care available from the agencies involved in the new court including Addiction NI and the Probation Board for Northern Ireland, as directed by the Court.
Having completed all Court directions and remained substance free, the client was sentenced on a non-custodial basis with the Court imposing fines and a Conditional Discharge instead of a period of imprisonment.
Diarmaid Kelly said today;
“This is a progressive and innovative Court scheme which treats the underlying problems of the Defendant in an attempt to break the addiction cycle rather than simply sending the client to jail. We welcome the imposition of the non-custodial sentence by District Judge Mrs Bagnall on our client. Certainly as far as our client is concerned this pilot Court scheme has worked well in treating the problem rather than the symptoms. Ultimately the responsibility will lie directly with the client to keep accessing the available professional help. We hope this result allows our client to steer clear of the courts in the future.”
If you wish to contact Mr Kelly or the firm regarding the Substance Misuse Court please do not hesitate to ring 02890 278227 for an appointment.