Accused was growing cannabis plants

Published 23/10/2012|15:08

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A 25-YEAR-OLD man learned how to grow cannabis plants from researching the internet, Balbriggan District Court heard.

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John O'Toole, (25), Ballygal Crescent, Finglas became addicted to the drug after he began smoking cannabis to ease the pain he was suffering in his back from a work related injury. Mr O'Toole pleaded guilty to cultivating three cannanbis plants, valued at €13,200 at The Green, Garristown, County Dublin on October 22, 2011. Inspector Kevin Holohan told the court that as a result of observations, gardai carried out a search on October 27 2011 in a shed and found a 'grow house'. There were three 'well matured' cannabis plants in the shed and the defendant, who has no prior convictions, immediately took responsibilty for owning the plants and was co-operative with the gardai. Counsel acting for Mr O'Toole told the court that his client, who is an electrician by trade, had a bad work accident in 2007. As all prescription medication he was given for his back pain resulted in stomach problems, he started smoking cannabis. While the cannabis gave him pain relief he also became addicted to it. He purchased the property, a cottage and adjoining shed, where the drugs were found with the compensation he received for his accident but then spent the remainder of this money purchasing drugs. Having researched how to grow cannabis plants on the internet, Counsel said that Mr O'Toole purchased the plants and began growing them purely for his own use. He said that the fact that no charges for sale and supply of drugs for having possession of drugs for own use were brought against the defendant showed that the state accepted he was using the drugs for pain relief. Mr O'Toole, who has a partner and two children, is no longer smoking cannabis. As he is 'desperate to return to work' and a conviction would have ' huge repercussions on his career', Counsel asked the court to adjourn the matter for a Probation report. Judge John Lindsay then remanded Mr O'Toole on continuing bail to appear again before Balbriggan District Court on April 25 for a report from the Probation and Welfare Service. 'Maybe he needs to start saving his money,' commented Judge Lindsay.

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