Wednesday 22 November 2017

'I mostly eat it before I go to sleep' - Man who grew cannabis in home to combat sleep apnoea avoids jail term

The 31-year-old is in fulltime employment
The 31-year-old is in fulltime employment

Angela Mullin

A Hungarian man who grew “a bumper crop” of cannabis in his home to help treat his sleep condition has avoided a jail term.

Istvan Hatos (31) of Skelligs Court, Waterville Blanchardstown, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivation of cannabis at his home on February 17, 2014.

Hatos who has been living in Ireland for seven years and is in fulltime employment had told gardaí that he suffered from sleep apnoea and was using the cannabis plants to help his condition.

Garda Michael Costelloe told Diarmuid Collins BL, prosecuting that gardaí raided the man’s house and discovered 32 mature cannabis plants growing upstairs in two specialised tents.

A further 10 immature cannabis plants were found in an unused downstairs bathroom. A small quantity of harvested cannabis leaves were also found drying out on the bedroom door.

Hatos said he had been attempting to grow cannabis for a period of time and had learnt how to do so from watching YouTube videos. He had not expected the plants to grow as well as they had.

He told gardaí that he bought the seeds online and was hoping to grow enough to provide him with a year’s supply of cannabis. He was in debt due to the money he had invested in the operation.

“I mostly eat it before I go to sleep,” Hatos said when explaining to gardaí how he used cannabis to help combat his disorder.

Hatos has one previous conviction for use of a false instrument. He used a Hungarian ID to claim Social Welfare for a friend who had returned home to Hungary.

Judge Martin Nolan noted that the man’s “horticultural attempts were more successful than he thought they were going to be”.

“He was left with a bumper crop that he was going to use in leaner times,” Judge Nolan said before he took into account Hatos’ co-operation with gardaí and the fact that he had not intended to sell the cannabis.

Judge Nolan sentenced the man to 18 months in prison but suspended the sentence on strict conditions.

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