‘Jekyll and Hyde’ party pharmacist sentenced

A pharmacist has been handed an 18-month suspended sentence by a Dublin court after he supplied prescription drugs to his friends

Irish media report that John O’Meara, the 42-year-old owner of three pharmacies in County Wicklow, was living a “party lifestyle” when he was caught supplying the drugs.

The Irish Examiner reports that the garda (policeman) who investigated the case referred to him as having a “Jekyll and Hyde type of character”.

It quotes Sergeant Seamus Ryan, who told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that when Mr O’Meara’s two mobile phones were analysed, WhatsApp messages indicated he could be supplying drugs when he partied with friends.

Sgt Ryan told the Court that matters “snowballed” for the pharmacies, who was able to continue making a living working as a pharmacist and owner, but also leading a “party lifestyle” out of hours.

“He seemed to be living like Jekyll and Hyde,” the policeman said, agreeing with the prosecution that Mr O’Meara’s profession gave him the opportunity to access medicines for his own personal use, and that he “siphoned” these drugs to friends.

In August 2018, Gardaí went to Mr O’Meara’s home and found 1,700 Xanax tablets and 330 Ritalin tablets.

These were worth about €4,000 (AUD$6,590).

The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland commenced an investigation into the pharmacist’s three stores and a High Court order issued in September 2018 suspended Mr O’Meara from practising the profession.

The Court heard that he has not practised since. While he still owns the three pharmacies, he has appointed a superintendent pharmacist to manage them. His registration remains suspended.

He pleaded guilty to possession of prescription tablets for sale or supply.

Judge Pauline Codd noted that Mr O’Meara had some “particular vulnerabilities” and that there was evidence he was “using the supply of drugs as a means of sustaining friendships with a cohort of people,” as well as that he had cooperated with police and had not objected to the disciplinary procedure being implemented by the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland.

She sentenced him to 18 months in jail, suspended with the expectation that he remain on good behaviour.

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