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Young dad convicted of 2016 drugs charge tells district judge: ‘I am not the same person now’

'I have a six-page record here - one for every year your daughter has been alive'

A man who claims he is not the same person as three years ago has been given a chance to prove this by a district judge.

The 22-year-old appeared at court for an offence which dated back to 2016 and has since found employment in the electrician trade.

Darren Pio Marshall, Broomhill, Magheralin, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on June 10, 2016, police were tasked to a disturbance on the Gilford Road, Lurgan.

Officers spoke to the defendant and conducted a search during which they found suspected cannabis in his pocket.

Whilst in custody, another search was conducted due to Marshall’s behaviour with more herbal cannabis being found.

When interviewed about the offences the defendant made full admissions.

Court heard that at the time of this incident he was in breach of a suspended sentence which he had been handed for another drugs offence.

Defence barrister Ciara Ennis stated: “This summons is of some vintage. During the intervening time Mr Marshall has found steady work as a self-employed electrician.

“Since then there has been a significant break in offending; on this occasion, it was a small quantity and he was fully co-operative with police.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “You have an exceptionally bad record for a man of your age and an exceptionally lax attitude.

“Do you have any idea what meth and cannabis can do to a young child, yet you are a loving father who will do anything to get his hands on all of this regalia?”

She added: “This was also done at a time that you had a live suspended sentence for a similar offence.”

Marshall responded: “That was a number of years ago, I am not the same person now as I was then.”

District Judge Kelly commented: “You were that person from the age of what, around 16. I have a six-page record here – one for every year your daughter has been alive.”

She added: “If you have changed fair enough, if not I will see you again and you will be going to prison.”

Marshall was sentenced to a combination order of 12 months of probation and 80 hours of community service.

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