A 40-year-old man who confessed to selling or delivering heroin in his room in the Simon Community in Cork unusually asked for a longer prison term, in which he felt he had to be in prison to have a chance of rehabilitation.
Vincent Van Der Velde was charged for the presence of diamorphine (heroin) in his room in Simon at Anderson’s Quay, Cork, on August 20, 2019, and for possession of the drug for the purpose of sale or Delivery sentenced to 15 months in prison.
Inspector Pat Murphy said the defendant had been arrested by Garda Lorna Healy on Simon's premises and evidence was found on his phone that he was actively involved in the heroin trade.
Defense attorney Joseph Cuddigan said he would have to file a new application in this case, which should effectively impose a much longer sentence than expected.
Mr. Cuddigan described a terrible childhood that the accused experienced in the Netherlands.
What followed was a deep descent into drugs, the lawyer said.
"He sought consolation in the liberal drug culture in the Netherlands," said Cuddigan.
"From then on, I would describe his life as a life of misery, madness, and drug addiction," he said.
He said Van Der Velde had to deal with an insidious heroin addiction and the demons of the past made it worse.
Mr. Cuddigan compared the defendant's plight to Sisyphus, who tried to roll a large stone onto the top of a slope so that he would roll back every time.
"He knows he needs this time in prison to have a chance of rehabilitation," he said.
Judge Mary Cashin sentenced the heroin trade accusation to a ten-month sentence after accusing the same drug for self-use a year earlier.
Inspector Murphy said the defendant was caught with a needle in his pocket at the Grand Parade in Cork on July 24, 2018.
Judge Cashin said: "Mr. Van Der Velde, I wish you all the best."
The defendant replied: "Thank you, judge."