A FREELANCE writer from Belgium who was found with six cannabis plants at her home, and was drying more of the drug in her Aga oven, got into the habit of using the drug for joint pain, a court heard.
Christina Pisco (63) of Desertserges House, Ahiohill, Enniskeane pleaded guilty to one charge of cultivation of cannabis and one count of the possession of cannabis at Clonakilty District Court last week.
Sgt Paul Kelly told the court that on August 2nd last Det Gda Shannon Ryan of the Divisional Drugs Unit carried out a search at the defendant’s home, with a search warrant under the Misuse of Drugs Act.
‘During the course of the search she showed him one cannabis plant in the front porch and she also pointed out five plants in a polytunnel. There was also some dried cannabis in the kitchen,’ said Sgt Kelly.
‘She made full admissions and when she was later arrested by arrangement she admitted she grew the plants all for her own use,’ he added.
The court heard that on full maturity the six plants would have a street value of €4,800, while the quantity of cannabis in the kitchen, which weighed 21.78 grams, has a street value of €435.72.
Defence solicitor Colette McCarthy said her client pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and that she immediately pointed out the plants to the gardaí and also went and got the dried cannabis from her Aga oven. She also said there was no mention of her client being involved in the sale or supply of cannabis.
‘She suffers from joint pain and in recent times she lost both her parents and she got into the habit of using cannabis at home as a crutch,’ said Ms McCarthy, who added that it has been a ‘salutary lesson’ for her.
‘My client is also known to be involved in a lot of voluntary organisations and organises festivals in Clonakilty.’
She said Ms Pisco, who is a freelance writer, has done a lot of good and intends to apply for Irish citizenship.
‘She has gone to her doctor about the joint pain that she suffers and I am asking the court to show her the ultimate leniency,’ she added.
Sgt Kelly said the defendant has two previous convictions for minor road traffic offences.
Judge John King said he had only her word that Ms Pisco had ‘turned over a new leaf.’
He directed that a probation report be carried out on Ms Pisco, which would also include two random urinalysis at her own expense, and he also requested a letter from her doctor confirming that she is not suitable for any joint pain medication.
Judge King remanded her on continuing bail to appear in court again on July 27th.