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No prison time for polite pensioner growing cannabis

November 30th, 2022 1:30 PM

By Southern Star Team

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A SKIBBEREEN pensioner has, once again, avoided a jail sentence for cultivating cannabis.

Richard Goldfrapp (73), with an address at Kilcoe in Skibbereen, had previously received a three-year suspended sentence for the same offence.

At a sitting of Cork Circuit Court, Judge Helen Boyle heard that when gardaí called to Mr Goldfrapp’s home with a search warrant they discovered 40 cannabis plants in pots, which he said he was growing for his own personal use.

Dt Garda Andrew Manning told the court that he went to the home of the 73 year old, who lives in a remote area, on June 11th, 2021, with a search warrant and that it was accepted that the UK national, who has lived in Ireland for over four decades, was growing the plants for his own use.

Mr Goldfrapp had previously pleaded guilty to a possession charge.

The plants were being cultivated without any special lighting or tents or hydrophonics which is a soilless method of growing cannabis using water as the primary medium.

Within a hydrophonic set up, cannabis plants are grown in buckets, and are suspended over a tank of water.

Det Garda Manning said that the plants were immature and would possibly not have reached their full potential because they were being grown in an unsophisticated manner.

Det Garda Manning also told the court that Mr Goldfrapp ‘was a nice man to deal with’ and that he had co-operated fully with the garda investigation into the case.

Donal O’Sullivan, barrister for Richard Goldfrapp, said his client had taken four urinalysis tests prior to his court appearance which had all shown him to be clear of drugs.

Mr O’Sullivan told Judge Boyle that  the possibility of receiving a custodial sentence had ‘jolted’ Richard Goldfrapp to a sense of reality.

He stressed that his client wanted to emphasise that Dt Garda Manning was extremely ‘polite’ in his dealings with him.

Judge Boyle said her one hesitation in relation to sentencing related to the fact that Goldfrapp previously received a suspended sentence for exactly the same sentence.

Judge Boyle added that the law did not allow for the growing of cannabis, even if Goldfrapp had an ‘off grid’ lifestyle living in a remote part of the country.

She jailed him for three years suspending the entirety of the sentence.

However, she warned the pensioner that he was running out of chances. She told him that he was facing a custodial sentence if he ever offends in this manner again.

Dt Garda Manning told the court that he was prepared to keep an eye on the defendant to make sure that he was staying on the straight and narrow.

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