A 71-YEAR-old organic farmer appeared in his own defence at Skibbereen District Court after being charged with possession and the cultivation of cannabis.
Robin Allan of Kilkilleen Organics, Church Cross, Skibbereen, declined Judge James McNulty’s offer of free legal aid when the farmer, who has a 20-acre holding, admitted he is ‘asset rich and cash poor, like all farmers.’
Robin Allan accepted the evidence given by Sgt Paul Kelly that he had grown seven cannabis plants on his property and was therefore guilty of cannabis possession and cultivation.
Sgt Keith O’Leary inspected the premises under search warrant on June 26th 2019. The prosecutor valued the cannabis plants – at their maturity – to be €5,600, or €800 each. And he said the accused was also in possession of €100 worth of cannabis on the day.
Judge McNulty said he would give Robin Allan the benefit of a conditional discharge, which means the charge is to be dismissed under the Probation Act.
The court order is, however, conditional on Robin Allan entering a €1,000 bond, in cash, to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the next two years.
The judge informed the pensioner that if he stays out of trouble during that time the money will be returned to him.
Judge McNulty said he took a lenient view of this case because the 70-something has no previous convictions and was fully co-operative with the gardaí.The accused told the court he had been using cannabis for relief of aches and pains – as well as arthritis in his hands after years of farming – but he said he is now ‘buying CBD oil legally.’
Judge McNulty remarked on the accused’s appearance saying he was ‘fit and healthy looking. You are like me,’ he added, with a hint at humour, ‘maturing nicely.’
‘Yes,’ said Robin Allan, ‘like good wine.’