Defendant's fingerprints not found on drugs or scales

February 1st, 2017 6:03 PM

By Southern Star Team

Clonakilty Lodge

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A SOUTH African national who sold perfume and condoms in a Clonakilty nightclub, had a charge of selling cannabis dismissed after it emerged in court that his fingerprints were not found on the drugs. 

Romanus Ashu of Clonakilty Lodge, Clonakilty, appeared at a recent sitting of Clonakilty District Court on a charge of the sale or supply of cannabis dating back from 2013. 

Supt Ger O’Mahony said the defendant was seeking asylum at the time of the offences and was living in Clonakilty Lodge in 2013, but had five different addresses since then, and gardaí had difficulty in locating him. Direction had been given on the file a long time ago, he said.

Gda Shane Lalor of Clonakilty Garda Station told the court that on January 10th 2013 he applied to the peace commissioner for a search warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act and went to Clonakilty Lodge with it. He said he met with the manager there and went to apartment 226 where a master key was used to enter the room. Gda Lalor searched the room and found 15 individual  wraps of cannabis with a street value of €300 in an empty perfume box in a rucksack. 

Gda Lalor also found a digital weighing scales and a grinder beside a locker and there was no one present in the room, except himself and Sgt O’Donovan who accompanied him. 

Following the seizure of the drugs, Gda Lalor labelled the individual wraps and sent them for analysis and a certificate came back to confirm that the herbal substance was cannabis. 

Gda Lalor  met the defendant by appointment on February 4th and cautioned him under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The court was told the defendant worked in the Emmet Hotel in Clonakilty selling perfumes and condoms in the bathroom of the nightclub there.

When questioned by Gda Lalor, the defendant said he did not know how the drugs got there and said someone else must have put them there and he denied selling drugs. 

Gda Lalor put it to him that he was selling the individual wraps while selling the perfume in the nightclub.

Solicitor Jim Brooks asked Gda Lalor about a fingerprint analysis report and pointed out that none of his client’s fingerprints were detected on the grinder, weighing scales or the drugs, but that there were prints from others.

Mr Brooks said his client told gardaí that he didn’t own any of the three items found in his room and asked Gda Lalor should he not have got the 15 wraps checked for fingerprints. Marion O’Regan, manager of Clonakilty Lodge, told the court that there was only one master key for all the rooms which was used by the managers and security, (six people in total) and they, along with the person living in the room, had the only access to the room. She said the master key is always in the office.

Supt O’Mahony said he accepted the fact that the defendant’s fingerprints were not found on the drugs or the other items. 

Judge David Waters dismissed the case.

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