Man supplied drugs to friends 'to save up enough money to move into his own place'
A YOUNG man who supplied Ecstasy to friends in a bid to save up enough money to move into his own place was spared jail today.
Regan Elliot admitted possessing 1,215 Ecstasy tablets, 519 grams of MDMA in powder form and £12,590 which all were discovered during a search of his then north Belfast home in April 2018.
Belfast Crown Court heard that when arrested, the 21-year old apprentice engineer told police he was saving money to get his own apartment.
Handing Elliott a two-year sentence, which was suspended for two years, Judge David McFarland said he accepted Elliott's motivation to move was to escape an abusive domestic situation.
Before passing sentence, the judge was told by Crown barrister Rosemary Walsh that on April 7, 2018 police searched Elliot's address and discovered a locked safe in his bedroom.
Ms Walsh said that when the safe was opened, police located a "large quantity of cash" alongside tablets and white powder. Also found were a set of digital scales and 'deal' bags.
Elliot was not present during the search, but he attended with police the following month, where he made full admissions about the drugs and the criminal property in the form of cash.
Confirming Elliott, from Fernagh Parade in Newtownabbey, had a clear criminal record, Ms Walsh asked that the drugs be destroyed and the money be donated to a local drugs charity.
A defence barrister said his young client had "put up with lots of adversity" in his teens, and that his motivation for dealing drugs was to obtain money to enable him to move away from an abusive situation and "to a more stable environment."
The barrister also called Elliott's boss to the witness box, who confirmed he hired Elliott as an apprentice electrician. The business owner, who employs 20 people, described Elliott as an enthusiastic and hard-working member of staff.
Saying he saw "a bright future for Regan Elliott", the businessman confirmed Elliott told him about the drugs charge and court case, and added: "If they are honest with you and put in an honest day's work, you should be supporting and helping them."
The barrister ended his submission by saying Elliott had taken "positive steps" to change his life, and that it was "inconceivable Mr Elliott will find himself before the court again."
Judge McFarland spoke of the "significant amount of Class A drugs" seized and told Elliott: "This is one of the more serious drugs circulating in the community and I don't need to lecture you or others about the impact it has on communities and vulnerable members of that community, or about the premature deaths caused by people taking this drug."
The judge also told Elliott that he accepted the motivation was to gain cash and "escape" from his domestic problems and into his own accommodation.
Judge McFarland handed Elliott a suspended sentence, ordered that the drugs be destroyed, and said the cash seized in the safe will be donated to Addiction NI.