A pensioner convicted for the third time of drugs possession has been warned it is time to beat his habit after a detection dog uncovered more than €1,000 worth of cannabis in his home.
Michael Curtis, 70, and living at Cool Mountain, near Dunmanway in West Cork, appeared before Clonakilty District Court, where he pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of cannabis.
Judge Colm Roberts heard that on September 25, 2019, Detective Garda Andrew Manning and other members of the Cork West Divisional Drugs Unit executed a search under warrant at Mr Curtis's property.
Curtis handed over a small amount of cannabis, worth €150, and the detection dog then found cannabis herb worth €1,080 in another part of the property.
His solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, said his client was not dealing in drugs and the judge remarked: "It's a lot to have for yourself for a 70-year-old man."
Curtis, a thatcher who previously worked as a basket maker, pleaded guilty to two charges of possession of drugs arising from the incident.
The court heard this was his third time to be convicted for possession of drugs, dating from 2019 and 2017. In 2017, he was also sentenced to 100 hours of community service for cultivation.
Judge Roberts said: "My concern is there is a lifestyle choice here that believes he is above the law.
"This is a man who should know better."
Mr Fleming said Curtis – who has lived in Ireland for 40 years, and originally Bournemouth – had told him he was trying "very hard" to give up drugs.
"I see no progress," the judge said.
Mr Fleming said his client was aware he risked going to prison although Judge Roberts said he could have undergone three treatment programmes in the time since the incident.
"He may have been getting away with it for the past 50 years so why would a tiger change its stripes? he said.
The court heard Curtis had not come to Garda attention since and the judge handed him a three-month sentence, suspended for two years and a warning that it was a "fool's errand" to try and give up drugs on his own.