| 9.1°C Dublin

Star student smoking drugs in bath admits €18k cannabis stash

A youth who was one of the best students in his school when living with his grandmother was caught with €18,000 worth of cannabis after moving in with his mother, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Noel Farmer, then 16 years old, was found smoking a joint in the bath when gardai raided his mother's home. When his mother saw the gardai approaching she ran upstairs, forcing the gardai to break in. He admitted possession of the drugs but refused to sign his statement after his mother intervened.

Farmer (18) of CastleCurragh Vale, Blanchardstown pleaded guilty to possession of 11 nine-ounce bars of cannabis resin worth €18,658 at his home on October 10, 2008. Judge Katherine Delahunt adjourned sentencing to allow him to continue taking regular drug tests and remanded him on bail until next May.

His grandmother, Ms Mary Mullin, told the court that Farmer had lived with her from an early age because his parents were drug users and his father was regularly in custody. She said he did very well in school and scored the second highest marks in his school at the Junior Certificate, getting nine honours.

She said he had a strict upbringing and was encouraged to play chess and football.

She told defence counsel, Ms Vivienne O'Neill, that when he reached 16 he moved back in with his mother, who was "more of a friend than a parent". He began using drugs and was expelled from school.

Ms Mullin, who works in a drug treatment centre, said she tried to get him to move back in with her but he broke off all contact with her. "I loved him and didn't want to lose him," she said.

Garda Alan Barry told prosecuting counsel, Mr Patrick McGrath, that he received confidential information that Farmer had a large quantity of drugs in his house. They found the cannabis in his room in a schoolbag.

He was arrested and made admissions to gardai but his mother then told him not to sign the statement.

Ms O'Neill said her client had no previous convictions and had been hanging around with a "bad crowd". She said he had since done his Leaving Certificate outside of school and was now studying, doing work experience and working part time.

She said he was also back in touch with his grandmother and was welcome to move back in with her.