A Polish man caught with 700 cannabis plants in his attic claimed that he didn’t know it was illegal to grow the plant in Ireland, a court has heard.
Jaroslaw Lasota was arrested after gardaí searched his house at Latchford Park, Clonee. He told them the plants were for the production of oil and seeds, which he said he thought were legal in Ireland because they are freely available to buy online.
Lasota (43) pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivation of cannabis and possession of cannabis for sale or supply on May 31, 2012. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Garda Alan Carroll told Úna Tighe BL, prosecuting, that gardaí obtained a warrant to search the house and found the plants, along with dried cannabis, growing equipment and printed growing instructions. A second search revealed a safe containing €4050.
Patrick Marrinan SC, defending, told Judge Catherine Murphy that his client no longer stood over his original claims that he thought it was legal, but that it was “the only lie he told” and he has since cooperated with the gardai.
Lasota, who has been living in Ireland since 2010, has no previous convictions. Gda Carroll agreed with Mr Marrinan that he had not come to any other gardai attention.
The court heard that no exact valuation of the plants was available, but that it was estimated to be nearly €13,000.
Judge Murphy refused Mr Marrinan’s request to give a fully suspended sentence. She said that Lasota “can’t escape the fact that he was a significant contributor to current serious drug culture in this country, although at lesser end of scale”.
She imposed a three-year sentence and suspended the final 18 months. She also ordered the seizure of the €4050, and the destruction of the plants.