Cork woman tried to discard cannabis in stove during raid

With drugs convictions starting from 2012, and on hearing that she is trying to wean herself off them, the judge said: “she is a long time at the weaning”.
Cork woman tried to discard cannabis in stove during raid

The court heard that the woman “self-medicates” with cannabis. The judge handed down a 60-day jail sentence. File photo

A woman who “self-medicates” with cannabis has received a 60-day jail sentence after gardaí arriving to search her home under warrant observed her trying to dispose of drugs by dumping them in her stove.

Claire Freeman, aged 58 and of Knockbue, Drimoleague in Co. Cork, pleaded guilty at Bantry District Court to possession of cannabis at her home and to a charge of trying to obstruct gardaí.

Sgt Paul Kelly told Judge James McNulty that Detective Garda Shannon Ryan and others from the Cork West Divisional Drugs Unit arrived at Ms Freeman’s home on May 16 last year to search the premises under warrant.

However, having knocked on the door, Det. Garda Ryan observed Ms Freeman trying to discard green material in her stove.

On entering, he immediately recovered some of what had been placed in the stove, some 2.5g of suspected cannabis, later confirmed as such and with an ultimate value of €50.

The court heard Ms Freeman had nine previous convictions, including six relating to drugs. All bar one of those drugs convictions were for possession, with one conviction of having drugs for sale or supply in 2013, when she revived a sentence of 200 hours community service in lieu of 60 days in prison. 

Her first drugs conviction was in Bantry District Court in 2012 and the most recent was in February 2017. Her solicitor, Eamonn Fleming, said Ms Freeman was on disability payment of €200 a week and that she “suffers from a lot of pain".

Mr Fleming said:

She self-medicates to an extent with cannabis.

He added that she had been taking the drug “for a long time” but was making efforts to wean herself off it.

He said his client had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity, that she did voluntary charity work in animal rescue and was a quietly spoken woman not engaged in any other type of illegal activity.

Judge McNulty said “she is a long time at the weaning.” Mr Fleming asked the court to consider ordering a Probation Report but Judge McNulty said he had heard similar arguments made on Ms Freeman’s behalf on previous occasions.

“Here, in this court, she has run out of road,” he said.

The judge sentenced her to 60 days imprisonment on both charges and set recognisance for appeal on her own bond of €500, no cash required, adding that by the time of appeal Ms Freeman may have made “strenuous efforts” to address her drug use.

He said Ms Freeman was engaged in “persistent offending”. The appeal was lodged and Ms Freeman was granted legal aid.

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