An arthritis sufferer who was using cannabis to treat his pain has received a suspended jail term after being caught with over five kilogrammes of the drug.
Gardaí searched Alex Bravo's flat in Dublin city centre home on August 3 last year after receiving confidential information that drugs were being held there for a criminal gang.
Bravo (aged 60) pointed gardaí to a suitcase which contained an Iceland freezer bag with an estimated 5.5kg of cannabis resin made up of five and a half blocks. The estimated street value of the drugs found was €31,460.
Bravo told gardaí he used to treat the pain of his arthritis. The court heard he was micro-dosing, using two-tenths of a gramme of cannabis oil.
His lawyers told the court the purpose of this was to manage the pain, not to get high.
The criminals supplying Bravo with the cannabis asked him to store the drugs found in his flat on Sherrard Street, Dublin 1, and he was afraid to say no, the court heard.
He pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of drugs for sale or supply.
Judge Karen O'Connor said there was no reason not to accept that Bravo had a genuine fear. She said there is no evidence that the Nicaraguan national was profiting from the illegal distribution of drugs.
He has been living here for a number of years and is a hard-working man, she said.
She suspended a sentence of two-and-a-half years after noting his previous good character. She ordered that he engage with offence- and victim-focused work.