A man accused of obstructing a drugs search claimed that garda officers would not let him have the search warrant because the last time they did that, the person ate it.
Edward Cichan, 48, claimed that drugs squad officers told him this when he told them to put the warrant in front of his face. This allegation was not put to the officers who gave evidence earlier in the trial of the case today.
The defendant said of the evidence of obstruction: “It is complete lies....When they showed a warrant I said let me read it. They said, the last time we done that they ate it. I said hold it in front of my face.
“If they showed me the warrant I would have gotten out of their way and let them do what they wanted to do.”
Detective Garda Jeremy Murphy said he obtained a warrant to search Edward Cichan’s home at 40A Green Street, Barrack Street, Cork, based on confidential information on January 14, 2019.
Det Garda Murphy said the accused obstructed the search of the apartment and became highly aggressive. He said the defendant started punching and kicking out at officers without making impact.
“He had to be restrained and I put handcuffs on him,” the detective said.
Both Det Garda Murphy and his colleague Det Garda John Sheedy said the defendant was shown the search warrant.
Defence solicitor, Diarmuid Kelleher, said it was not possible for the defendant to see the warrant because it was only ‘flashed’ in front of him.
Mr Kelleher said a reasonable interpretation of being shown a search warrant was that one would see one’s name or address on the warrant.
Inspector Margaret Murrell said: “The whole purpose of the warrant could be out the window by the time they are finished reading it. They must be aware of what the warrant is for.”
Judge Con O’Leary said: “It is meaningless unless he is allowed to read it.”
Insp Murrell said: “It is not that he is not allowed to read it. Once the person is aware you have a warrant, you explain what the warrant is. It is not that they are not allowed to read it but once you are aware of it.”
Judge O’Leary adjourned the contested case until February 6 to consider this issue.
Cichan admitted having cannabis resin for his own use on the date in question. He said he smoked marijuana for 20 years as a way of dealing with epilepsy. The charge to which he pleaded not guilty was one of obstructing the gardaí during a search.