A DISTRICT Court Judge has said it was hardly a ‘window box’ when gardaí discovered a ‘sophisticated small scale grow house’ which contained four fully grown cannabis plants at a house in Dunmanway last year.
Judge James McNulty was dealing with the case of Ella Goddin (47), a former independent candidate in the local elections in Cork city, with an address at Moneyreague, Dunmanway.
Ms Goddin pleaded guilty to a charge of cultivating cannabis when the case was heard at Clonakilty District Court.
Gda Kevin Kennedy told the court that on August 25th last year he searched the defendant’s home with a drugs search warrant and found a plastic tin with four fully grown cannabis plants with an estimated street value of €3,200 in an upstairs bedroom in the house.
‘It was a highly sophisticated operation and when the defendant arrived back, she admitted ownership of the plants and said that they were for her own use,’ said Gda Kennedy.
Gda Kennedy said the defendant has two previous convictions for the possession of cannabis.
Solicitor Colette McCarthy said her client had co-operated fully and gave gardaí a full account of everything.
‘She is a long term sufferer of anxiety and insomnia and uses the cannabis plants for pain relief. She has since gone for medication and had gone to the late Dr Denis Cotter for this,’ said Ms McCarthy.
‘My client has been living in Ireland over 15 years and works in the community and is self-employed in the agricultural tech sector. She has done a lot of good and there is no question that the cannabis was for sale.’
Ms McCarthy added that her client would not be doing this again and said that she had tried to self-medicate.
‘That was wrong and she now is on pharma medication,’ she added.
Judge James McNulty noted that it is the third time that the defendant has been prosecuted for drug offences. ‘She’s not alone in suffering from insomnia and cannabis is not what they recommend,’ said Judge McNulty.
‘The route she chose is illegal and she can hardly be treated leniently. It was hardly a window box, it was a sophisticated small scale growhouse. She’s not 17, she’s 47,’ he added.
The defendant, who paid a fine of €1,000 in court, apologised and said it would not happen again.
In 2014, Ms Goddin ran as an independent candidate in the local elections in Cork city and announced her campaign by pole dancing on a unicycle on the Grand Parade. She failed to secure a seat.