An army corporal who told gardaí he bought cannabis to ease the pain of his dying wife has avoided a criminal conviction.
Damian Flood, aged 39, was caught with €9,814 of cannabis herb near Nutgrove in Dublin on March 15, 2013. He initially told gardaí he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt of €40,000.
However, the widowed father of two later said he brought the the drugs after online research showed him juiced cannabis added to food could relieve pain.
Flood told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court he wanted to ease the suffering of his wife, who was terminally ill with breast cancer. She died some five months later.
Flood, of Scribblestown Avenue, Finglas, Dublin pleaded guilty to possessing the drug for sale or supply. He apologised to the court, saying he was “embarrassed” to be there. “It was a moment of madness.”
The court heard Flood has served more than 18 years with the Defence Forces, and is three years off retirement.
Judge Mary Ellen Ring said that his explanation that he wanted to use the drugs for pain relief was not unreasonable and that it was used lawfully for this in other countries.
She said that testimonials handed into court showed Flood to be a man of good character with an exemplary record from the army. She said she could treat this offence as an aberration and noted that Flood was under considerable financial pressure at the time.
She said that, in light of his personal circumstances, including the service he has done for his country, she was applying the Probation Act in lieu of a sentence of imprisonment. This means no conviction was recorded against him.
Detective Garda Colin Tighe told Melanie Greally, prosecuting, that gardaí became suspicious when they saw a car driving erratically in the Rathfarnham area. When they stopped the car, the driver seemed very nervous and on edge and there was a smell of cannabis herb.
Lorcan Staines, defending, said Flood has no previous convictions and co-operated with gardaí.
Flood said he initially lied to the gardaí that he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt because he did not want to implicate his dying wife in his arrest.
He said that, after doing some research online, he made a few calls and got a parcel delivered. When the parcel arrived it seemed to be worth about €5,000, whereas he only wanted to spend up to €500.
Flood told the dealer he could not afford it and had been in the process of returning the parcel when he was arrested. A probation report said Flood was at low risk of reoffending.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved