An Englishman convicted of growing cannabis at his home in West Cork spent a hard week in jail and said he would never grow it again — unless he got a licence to grow hemp from the minister for health.
Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin remanded Duncan Sloane in custody from last Friday until yesterday “in view of his flagrant attitude to the law”.
Sloane’s application for a licence from the minister for health to grow hemp was one of the documents the accused asked his barrister, Ray Boland, to present to the court in advance of sentencing on Nov 8.
Mr Boland said the defendant would not be growing cannabis again. He added that there was no way he would be getting a licence and that Sloane had said he would not grow it again without one.
“He has not enjoyed his week in prison,” Mr Boland added.
The judge said: “I did not get the impression from the guards that he was a significant ongoing problem. It would appear that, even belatedly, people do learn.
“This 67-year-old man was found guilty by a jury of cultivating and being in possession of cannabis.
“He has a previous conviction for harassment, he has not been before the courts for a significant period thereafter, so the deterrent effect would appear to work in his case.”
The judge imposed a suspended 18-month sentence on the cultivation charge and fined him €1,000 on the possession count.
Garda Andrew Manning said in the trial that he obtained a warrant to search the house and surrounding property at Gortnamuckla, Dunmanway, Co Cork, on Aug 15, 2012, and that when garda colleagues and Snipe, the West Cork drugs unit sniffer dog, went to the property, they found 30 cannabis plants growing six-feet high outside, together with a jar of cannabis hidden in a wall and a small jar of cannabis by the fireside.
Detective Sergeant Fergal Foley said the cannabis herb and potential herb from the plants measured in the region of 1.5kg.
Questioned the day after the drugs seizure, Sloane admitted that he had been growing cannabis at his home for 10 years.
He said in the witness box that he had the cannabis for his own use.
Sloane also said that he was smoking approximately three and a half ounces of cannabis per week.
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