CANNABIS and ecstasy were the drugs of choice for the overwhelming majority of Electric Picnic patrons who appeared at last week’s district court charged with possession or having drugs for sale.
In most cases it was a small quantity of the drug that landed the defendants in court, while there were also a few cases of people having cocaine, mephedrone and in one case magic mushrooms.
Before dealing with the 100-odd defendants listed, Judge Catherine Staines addressed the court and warned all present of the seriousness of drug offences and she reminded the defendants that they would be given one chance to escape a formal conviction.
“You’re charged with a criminal offence, which can carry a fine and a prison sentence. Many of you have a clean record. You may think taking cannabis or ecstasy is fun, but it’s a criminal offence.
“You’re lucky you have your health,” she continued, “many people are born unwell, but you’re voluntarily taking a drug that can affect your health. Everyone is given a chance and a criminal record is a serious matter. Consider that before you take, buy or sell drugs again. The drug squad will keep a record of these and if you appear before me next year you will have a criminal record,” she concluded.
Garda Pat Scully brought the charges against the defendants. Among the cases heard was that of a man caught with €10 of cannabis herb who, when cautioned at the Picnic, offered the excuse: “I’m in a band.”
Another man with previous convictions for drug offences was prepared to offer “a substantial amount” to charity to avoid a conviction, but Judge Staines told him: “You can’t buy your way out of court.” He was fined €300.
Also appearing was a man who told the judge he used cannabis resin medicinally to overcome the effects of chemotherapy.
“No other drugs work,” he said.