Garda asked if he smoked cannabis at Englishman’s drug charge trial

A detective was asked in court if he smoked cannabis himself. The question was posed during the drugs charges trial of an Englishman living in West Cork for 35 years.

Garda asked if he smoked cannabis at Englishman’s drug charge trial

Duncan Sloane, 67, pleaded not guilty to cultivating cannabis, possessing it, and having the cannabis for sale or supply at his home, Gortnamuckla, Dunmanway, on Aug 15, 2012. However, Sloane said in court he smoked approximately 3.5oz of cannabis per week.

Det Sgt Fergal Foley said that, in his experience of drug users in West Cork, anything more than one ounce per week would be a lot. He suggested that if one consumed the quantity the defendant claimed to have consumed, he would not be able to function.

Defence barrister Ray Boland then asked the detective if he smoked cannabis. Det Sgt Foley said he did not. Mr Boland then suggested Sloane would have greater expertise.

Garda Andrew Manning said he obtained a warrant to search the house and surrounding property and when Garda colleagues went to the property they found 30 cannabis plants growing 2m high outside, together with a jar of cannabis hidden in a wall and a smaller jar of cannabis by the fireside in the house.

Questioned the day after the drugs seizure, Sloane admitted he had been growing cannabis for 10 years.

Sloane said in the witness box that he had the cannabis for his own use and he had no need to make money from selling cannabis, as he could live comfortably on social welfare and had saved €1,000 a year over the past 10 years.

Cross-examined on answers he had given to gardaí in August about selling a small amount of cannabis cheaply to three people who called to his house, he said: “If I gave it to them for free, they would think I was queer.”

After deliberating for almost 90 minutes, the nine women and three men of the jury found him guilty of possession for his own use and cultivation and could not agree a verdict on the charge of having it for sale or supply. The case was then adjourned until Nov 7 with Sloane on continuing bail.

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