A SKIBBEREEN man who bought a cannabis ‘grow house’ kit on the Amazon website was charged with cultivation, possession, and having 109g of the drug for sale or supply.
Peter Tobin (50) of 24, Newbridge Park, Skibbereen, was legally represented at Skibbereen District Court by Liam O’Donovan, solicitor, who confirmed that his client bought one grow tent, and then a second, over the internet.
Gda Shannon Ryan gave evidence that the first lot of drugs – which included 12 plants and 96g of cannabis – were found in a locked bedroom in the house he shared with his ex-wife.
A search of the kitchen uncovered 24g of cannabis in a jar and what the prosecutor described as ‘a small spoon scales,’ but the accused claimed he had used this for measuring nutrients for the plants.
Members of the drugs unit carried out a search of the house at 10.20pm on December 13th 2017 but the accused was in the UK.
When Peter Tobin came back, he called to the garda station in Clonakilty in February and told them the cannabis was for his own personal use and not for sale or supply.
Mr O’Donovan said the quantity would suggest supply, but that wasn’t the case. He said his client was taken aback by how much cannabis he was able to produce using the small but sophisticated grow tents in his bedroom.
According to Sgt Paul Kelly, the 109g of cannabis was valued at €2,400 but the value of the cannabis plants – had they grown to full maturity – would have been €9,600, amounting to €12,000 in total.
Mr O’Donovan said Peter Tobin had no previous convictions under the Misuse of Drugs Act, but Sgt Kelly told the court that two unrelated offences had been committed in the UK.
In defence of his client, Mr O’Donovan said the gardaí had searched the house in June 2018 and found nothing.
Following that search, Mr O’Donovan said his client asked a family member to move out, but he then started researching cannabis and how it is grown and subsequently made the purchases online.
The solicitor handed into court a letter from a GP, which stated that the accused is on medication for chronic backpain. And he said the accused decided to self-medicate instead.
Mr O’Donovan told the court that everything from the seeds to the hydroponic tents were purchased over the internet.
Judge McNulty convicted the accused on two charges of possession and cultivation but adjourned everything else – including penalty – to the June 11th sitting of Skibbereen District Court.
This was to allow time for the production of a probation officer’s report.