Tomato plants ‘converted’ themselves’ into cannabis

A man whose tomato plants “miraculously converted themselves” into cannabis plants has been handed down an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years on condition he grows no more illegal drugs.

Father of five Daniel Johnson, aged 34, of Garryglass, Cahersiveen, Co Kerry, pleaded guilty at the February sitting of Cahersiveen District Court to two counts of unlawfully cultivating cannabis and unlawfully possessing cannabis on September 18, 2013.

Johnson said that when he moved into a rented property in south Kerry there was a polytunnel some fields away from the house with a tomato plant growing in it.

The “tomato plants” turned out to be 19 cannabis plants.

Johnson never stopped tending to them, Judge James O’Connor noted. Gardaí found the plants at various stages of growth.

Johnson, who has no previous convictions and was not involved in drug dealing, accepted they were cannabis plants and agreed to be taken into custody for two weeks.

When the matter came up for finalisation at Tralee District Court yesterday, Judge O’Connor said : “This is the matter where the tomato plants miraculously converted themselves into cannabis plants.”

Johnson had never come to Garda notice before, was not involved in sale or supply or cloak or dagger, and did not have the “mens rae” to commit serious crime, said Padraig O’Connell, defending.

Judge O’Connor handed down an eight-month suspended sentence ordered Johnson to pay €1,500 to the court poor box.

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