240 hours’ community service in lieu of jail

Drugs squad gardaí uncovered over €5,000 worth of cannabis grown by a man at his home in Allihies, Co Cork, and yesterday he was ordered to do unpaid work in the community instead of going to jail.

Derek Lowes, aged 33, of Reentrisk, Allihies, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to two drugs offences at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Both counts related to a drugs search conducted at his home in Allihies by gardaí with a search warrant on Sept 7, 2011.

Lowes pleaded guilty to possession of the drug and cultivation of it.

Judge David Riordan asked at the sentencing hearing, “Would a custodial sentence benefit Mr Lowes or society? I think in all the circumstances it would not.

“However, the threat of a custodial sentence has its own coercive effect.”

The judge then imposed a two-year sentence suspended on condition that the defendant would keep the peace for four years on the cultivation charge.

On the cannabis possession charge — Lowes’s third such offence — the judge said he could do 240 hours of community service instead of 12 months in prison, on being found suitable for such work by the probation service.

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