Wednesday 24 January 2018

Father-of-two caught with €25,000 worth of cannabis plants avoids jail

Cannabis plants.
Cannabis plants.

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A father-of-two who was caught cultivating 32 cannabis plants valued at over €25,000 has received a three year suspended sentence.

Lawyers for Stephen Savege (31) told the court he began smoking cannabis to self medicate for chronic pain after a serious accident when he was younger.

Damien Colgan SC, defending, submitted that his client got into cannabis cultivation when the drugs he had been purchasing weren’t strong enough for his pain.

Savege, of Neilstown Drive, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivation of cannabis at his home on March 25, 2014.

Garda Marcella Shannon told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting, that she and colleagues got a warrant to search the premises after receiving a tip-off.

Gardaí found cannabis plants at various stages of maturity, along with cannabis seeds, harvested cannabis herb stalks, cultivation equipment and instructions.

Savege admitted he had a “good set up”, that he had no drug debts and got money in return for his product.

Gda Shannon said that forensics put a €25,600 value on the plants and deemed the cannabis herb found during the search to be worth €3,700.

The garda agreed with Mr Colgan that only eight of the plants had been flowering at the time. She further agreed only female plants could produce a flower.

Mr Colgan submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had been unable to qualify as an electrician because of his injury.

Counsel said Savege has learned a “salutary lesson”, that he has no drug addiction and that there was nothing to be gained by imprisoning him.

Judge Nolan suspended the sentence for three years.

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