Cannabis convict seeks licence to grow hemp

An Englishman living in West Cork who was convicted last week of growing cannabis handed his sentencing judge yesterday his application to the minister for health for a licence to grow hemp.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said he took this application as an indication of the attitude of Duncan Sloane to the courts and the law. He remanded Sloane in custody for a week for sentencing next Friday.

“In view of his flagrant attitude to the law I am afraid I would be excessive on him [if sentenced yesterday]. I will give him a week to think about it. I will remand him in custody,” said the judge.

Sloane’s application for a licence from the minister to grow hemp was one of the documents he asked his barrister, Ray Boland, to present to the court in advance of sentencing.

Sloane, aged 67, was last week convicted of cultivating cannabis and possessing it at his home in Gortnamuckla, Dunmanway, on Aug 15, 2012. The jury could not agree a verdict on the charge of having it for sale or supply. Siobhán Lankford said yesterday that the DPP was no longer proceeding with that particular charge.

Garda Andrew Manning said in the trial that he obtained a warrant to search the house and surrounding property and that when Garda colleagues and Snipe — the West Cork drugs unit sniffer dog — went to the property they found 30 cannabis plants growing 6ft high outside, together with a jar of cannabis hidden in a wall and a smaller jar of cannabis by the fireside in the house.

Det Sgt Fergal Foley said the cannabis herb and potential herb from the plants measured in the region of 1.5kg.

Questioned by gardaí the day after the drugs seizure, Sloane admitted he had been growing cannabis at his home for 10 years. He said he had the cannabis for his own use.


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