Cannabis plants were grown in Abbeyshrule
A man who appeared before Longford Circuit Court pleading guilty to the cultivation of cannabis plants in Abbeyshrule in 2014 was sentenced to three years in prison, which the presiding judge suspended for five years in an effort to help with the defendant’s “rehabilitation”, following a sentence hearing into the matter.
Séan Bird, 29 Beachwood Avenue, Marley's Lane, Drogheda, Co Lough appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged in connection with the incident.
Garda Barry Gillispie told the court that on May 15, 2014 after executing a warrant at the south Longford property he met with Mr Bird on the premises.
The court heard that gardaí subsequently searched the three bedroom house and found a small grow house in the wardrobe of a bedroom.
Garda Gillispie said he discovered lights, fans, fertiliser and 55 cannabis plants in the wardrobe and the street value of the plants had been estimated at approximately €800 each.
“There was €44,000 worth of cannabis in total found at the premises,” added the Garda, before pointing out that Mr Bird told him that he was only at the house for the night, and that he had been asked to water and feed the cannabis plants because he owed money for drugs.
“Him and his brother were cultivating the cannabis for someone else; Sean Bird was growing it so that he could pay of a cannabis debt.
“He is a self confessed drug user.”
Meanwhile, Mr Hayden SC on behalf of the defendant said his client’s activity was at the lower end of the scale.
“Mr Bird didn’t in fact know how long those plants were going to take to mature; he has a partner who is pregnant and there is a child due in September.”
Mr Hayden SC then made reference to a probation report that had been furnished to the court in respect of the defendant.
“He is gainfully employed now and has self-rehabilitated himself,” Counsel added.
“He has weaned himself off cocaine and cannabis altogether and assures me that he has been clean for a long time now.”
During his ruling on the matter, Judge Johnson said the fact that the defendant had cooperated with the gardaí, stood him in good stead with the court.
The Judge also admitted that the case before him was “at the lower end of the criminal chain”.
“Mr Bird wasn’t going to gain anything from this, however €44,000 is a very significant amount of money,” added Judge Johnson.
“If he stays clean of drugs, I have no doubt that he will stay out of trouble.”
Before finalising matters, the Judge subsequently handed down the suspended sentence and ordered the defendant to enter a bond to be off good behaviour and keep the peace for a period of five years.
The defendant was also advised to engage with the Probation Service and stay drug and alcohol free in the meantime.