Thursday 19 July 2018

€38k of cannabis was 'medicinal'

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Swords mechanic who claimed he was growing over €38,000 of cannabis for medicinal purposes has received a three-year suspended sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Father-of-two Wojciech Kwasny (41) told gardai it was his first attempt at growing cannabis to ease his osteoarthritis.

Judge Martin Nolan told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he was 'suspicious' of the large crop, but said Kwasny was 'entitled to his chance', as he has no previous convictions.

Kwasny, of Parkview, Brackenstown Road, Swords, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at his home and at an industrial unit at Mace Pool, Kilsallaghan, on February 25, 2016.

Garda Thomas Doherty told Gerardine Small BL, prosecuting barrister, that he and colleagues with the Swords Drug Unit got a search warrant for the Kilsallaghan unit on foot of confidential information.

They climbed over the wall and could hear voices coming from inside the unit, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard.

Kwasny answered the door and gardai discovered two rooms in a marquee set up fitted with foiled heating lamps, cultivation equipment and dehumidifiers, the court was told.

These rooms housed cannabis plants at mature growth stages and there was also a 'drying tent' with 1.49kg of the drug worth €29,860, the court heard.

Gda Doherty told Ms Small that Kwasny revealed he had ten sapling plants at his home.

Gardai got another warrant for his address and found the saplings, which were worth €8,000 in total, the court heard.

Kwasny said he was cultivating the cannabis for himself for medicinal purposes and that he would also share some with his friends.

Gda Doherty agreed with Maria McCormack BL, defending barrister, that her client pointed gardai towards the cultivation set-up when they arrived at the industrial unit.

He further agreed Kwasny co-operated at all times with gardaí involved in the raid.

Responding to a question from Judge Nolan about his thoughts on the drug quantity, Gda Doherty said he thought it was a lot of cannabis for Kwasny's personal use.

Ms McCormack submitted to Judge Nolan that her client had worked for the same business for 12 years and was 'very sorry and remorseful' for his actions.

The defending barrister said Kwasny was 'unaware of the illegality' of the crime because he was growing the drugs for medicinal purposes.

Addressing the court, Judge Nolan said: 'The suspicion I have is the amount involved was quite large.'

But the judge that it would be 'unjust' to imprison Kwasny, given his previous good record and work history.

Ultimately, Judge Nolan decided to suspend Kwasny's sentence for a period of three years.

Fingal Independent