72-year-old caught growing cannabis says arresting Garda 'should be promoted'

A reclusive 72-year-old Englishman who was smoking his cannabis pipe when he was caught growing 63 cannabis plants said yesterday he would recommend the garda who carried out the search be promoted to sergeant.

David Walton said that not in a million years did he think that the drugs had the street value of €50,000 of which gardaí informed him.

Garda John McCarthy went to the home of Walton at Castle Cottage, Skibbereen, Co Cork, on June 12, 2015, and found the plants and some harvested herb. It was all grown by Walton for his own use.

Walton declined the offer of free legal aid and said, that at 72 years of age, he would rather represent himself rather than having a lawyer, whom he thought would be only 25 years old, appointed to deal with the case.

“I kept myself quietly to myself,” he said. “I have an aversion to going to pubs. I am a recluse. For someone like myself — two of my friends died from cancer this year and cannabis could have helped them — I believe it will be legalised in 10 years. I don’t like recreational drugs. I am an intelligent, educated man.”

Referring to his business partner, a woman who sat in the public gallery knitting during the sentencing hearing, Walton said: “We hope to create a nature reserve in what I am afraid I see as your green dessert.”

Judge Donagh McDonagh asked the accused if he wanted to cross-examine Garda McCarthy on his evidence. Walton said: “There is no way I would argue with him. He was a very polite and friendly man from the moment I met him. If I had the power I would recommend him to be made sergeant.”

Judge McDonagh said he would suspend a two-year sentence on Walton’s undertaking not to grow cannabis within the next three years. Walton gave that undertaking.

The judge said that, whatever one’s attitude to growing cannabis, legislation made it illegal here and courts had to enforce that.


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