Tuesday 24 October 2017

Accounts manager caught growing cannabis potentially worth €6,400

Andrew Phelan

AN accounts manager was caught growing cannabis plants with a potential value of €6,400 when gardai raided his home, a court heard.

Paul Clinch (37) had eight small plants in his house, and while they were too young to produce any drugs, gardai estimated them to be worth a 'large sum' on reaching maturity.

He also had a smaller amount of cannabis for sale or supply 'to pay for the electricity.'

Judge Michael Walsh adjourned the case at Dublin District Court for the production of a probation report.

Clinch pleaded guilty to cultivation of cannabis at his home at Eatonwood Avenue, Shankill on November 9, 2013. He also admitted possession of the drug with intent to sell or supply.

Sgt Ger White told the court the defendant's home was searched under warrant and eight plants along with €50 worth of the drug were found.

The defendant was arrested and brought to Kevin Street Garda Station, where he made full admissions in relation to the possession and cultivation of drugs.

The aggregate value of the plants was €6,400, Sgt White said. However, he explained that this was based on the plants reaching maturity and while the plants were small at the time of the search, this was the only valuation that could be given.

The accused had no previous convictions.

Clinch had been 'heavily involved' in taking cannabis and had become addicted, his solicitor Michael Staines said. He had been worried about his problem and attended counselling before the garda search.

The plants had been immature and not capable of producing anything at the time of the seizure, Mr Staines said.

Judge Michael Walsh argued that this was a 'two-way street', and that without the due diligence of the gardai the seizure might not have taken place when it did.

The court heard the sale or supply charge only referred to the €50 worth of drugs and Sgt White agreed that this was at 'the lower end of the scale.'

Mr Staines said 'this was to pay for the electricity' and the defendant accepted that it was 'not a good reason' for the offence.'

Judge Walsh noted that Clinch had taken great steps to address his problem and adjourned the case to June 24 for the production of a probation report. He said he also wanted to see a report from the counselling service the defendant had attended.

The accused replied 'thank you' to the judge before being remanded on continuing bail.

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