Brainstorming defendant came up with Edgeworthstown growhouse idea “to make a quick buck’

Judge imposes suspended prison sentence and orders €3,000 payment to St Vincent de Paul

Aisling Kiernan

Reporter:

Aisling Kiernan

Email:

aisling.kiernan@longfordleader.ie

A man who appeared before Longford Circuit Court this week pleading guilty to the cultivation of cannabis plants was sentenced to two years and six months in prison which the presiding judge subsequently suspended for five years during a hearing into the matter.

Robert Pilszek with an address in Edgeworthstown appeared before Judge Keenan Johnson charged under the Misuse of Drugs Act this morning.  

During today’s proceedings, Garda Fallon told the court how on foot of a search warrant, gardaí entered the defendant’s property.

The court heard how Mr Pilszek lived at the house with his wife and child.

“When we arrived at the property Mr Pilszek said there was drugs in the attic and when we went to inspect the area we discovered 20 young cannabis plants inside an insulation tent with heat lamps and ventilation,” added Garda Fallon.

“There was a small grow house in operation and we also found cannabis herb on the floor of the property from when the defendant had made his first attempt at growing the plants.

“There was 111.5 grammes of cannabis found in total with the street value of the plants amounting to €2,230.”

The court went on to hear that the defendant had spent two days setting up the grow house and thought it would be a good way in which to make some money to set up his own tattoo business.

“The grow house was well set up,” added Garda Fallon, before pointing out the defendant was working in a local pet food factory at the time.

Meanwhile, in mitigation Counsel for the defendant Mr Gerard Groarke said his client was a 35-year-old Polish national who had been living in Ireland since 2004.

“He said he learned how to set up the grow house from the internet; he got the plastic in Woodies and purchased the seeds online, he also got other bits and pieces in a grow shop in Dublin,” Counsel continued.

“This was his second attempt at growing the plants - the first attempt hadn’t gone very well.”

Mr Groarke went on to say that his client “knowingly’ engaged in the cultivation of cannabis with the intention of setting up his own tattoo business.

“He resigned from his employment and wants to set-up a tattoo salon,” said Counsel.

“He has also indicated to me that he is all set to get his business up and running; he is registered for tax and will operate from his residence for the moment.

“Mr Pilszek knows this is a serious offence and is not something the court can deal with lightly.  

“He has moved away from all this and is focusing on his new business now.”

Delivering his judgement on the matter, Judge Johnson said that when the defendant was arrested in connection with the incident he admitted his involvement in the operation.

“He admitted too that he got the seeds and other paraphernalia from other shops and he also admitted that he set up the growhouse to get money for his tattoo business,” the Judge continued.

“Mr Pilszek also admitted that his intention was to sell the cannabis and supply his friends.”

The Judge went on the say that it was clear to him that the defendant was a family man who had a strong relationship with his child.

“He appears to be a very good worker and this offending seems to be out of character for him,” he added.  

“He had a brain stormer when he came up with this idea of making a quick buck and his thinking is not clear; Mr Pilszek cooperated with gardaí, has shown remorse for his actions, holds a good work record and he also comes to this court with an unblemished record.”

The Judge subsequently imposed the prison sentence and suspended it for five years on the grounds the defendant keep the peace and be of good behavior.  

He was also ordered to remain drug free for the duration of the suspended sentence and engage with the Probation Service for nine months.

Judge Johnson also asked Mr Pilszek to pay the sum of €3,000 the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Edgeworthstown as soon as possible.