Tuesday 25 September 2018

Man jailed over drugs found in isolated house

A 33 year old Mid-Cork man has been jailed for three years after he pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and possessing cannabis for sale or supply, following a €60,000 drugs seizure by gardai at a remote location in Co Cork.

Father of one, Adam McCarthy, a native of Ballincollig but with an address at Aughinida, Rusheen, Macroom, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and possessing cannabis for sale or supply at the rented house at Rusheen on August 24th 2015.

Garda Conor Cahill told Cork Circuit Criminal Court this Tuesday that gardai raided the house on the day in question and found a sophisticated growhouse operation in a number of rooms upstairs with four tents containing 46 mature cannabis plants with a street value of €36,000.

They also found 1.5 kilos of harvested cannabis herb with an estimated street value of €30,300, said Garda Cahill, adding that McCarthy who was the registered tenant was not at home at the time.

Gardai contacted McCarthy who met them by appointment and was arrested and taken to Bandon Garda Station where he made full admissions in relation to the growhouse and the cannabis and co-operated fully with gardai.

McCarthy told gardai that he was growing the cannabis to sell to his friends, said Garda Cahill, adding that he had two previous convictions for simple possession of cannabis but had no previous convictions for possessing cannabis for sale or supply.

Defence counsel Tom Creed SC said that a probation report on McCarthy was very positive as he had gone back to work as a carpenter. Garda Cahill agreed this was an accurate report as McCarthy had got his life back on track since being caught with the drugs.

Mr Creed said McCarthy had pleaded guilty at the earliest available opportunity and by doing so had significantly assisted the prosecution case who might have faced difficulties proving possession of the drug given he was not in the house when the plants and drugs were seized.

Judge Seán O Donnabhain said McCarthy's plea was a particularly notable mitigating factor in such circumstances, given it obviated the need for the state to legally prove possession while he also noted that he co-operated fully with gardai upon his arrest.

Both factors along with his lack of any previous conviction for drug dealing and the positive probation report meant that there were exceptional circumstances which would allow him not to impose the mandatory ten year jail term.

Nonetheless the quantity of drugs in the case was significant, with a value of over €60,000, and the headline sentence was one of six years. However, given his guilty plea and co-operation, he would suspend the final three years leaving McCarthy with three years to serve in jail.