Grew cannabis in his home

A 45-year-old father of two from Mountrath who grew a cannabis plant as an experiment was last week convicted of cultivation and fined at the Portlaoise District Court.

A 45-year-old father of two from Mountrath who grew a cannabis plant as an experiment was last week convicted of cultivation and fined at the Portlaoise District Court.

Before the court was Declan Phelan, with an address listed as 50 Kiln Lane, Mountrath.

He was charged with the cultivation of cannabis at his home address on August 9 last year.

Inspector Declan Dunne gave evidence that gardaí acting on a search warrant conducted a search of the defendant’s house under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

During the course of the search a cannabis plant was found. Insp Dunne said the value of the plant was €100.

Phelan had two previous convictions, but none for drug offences.

Defence for Phelan was Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that the cultivation of the drug had not been a commercial activity for Phelan.

“It was more experimental than anything,” she said.

Ms Fitzpatrick went on to say that 45-year-old Phelan had two children and he appreciated he was not setting them a good example. She asked Judge Catherine Staines not to impose a formal conviction, reiterating that Phelan is a father of two.

“That’s all the more reason why he shouldn’t have been cultivating cannabis,” said Judge Staines.

“He accepts that, it was a very foolish thing to do,” admitted Ms Fitzpatrick.

Ms Fitzpatrick said that the garda search of Phelan’s house was conducted as “there was a suspicion”, but she submitted to Judge Staines that this suspicion was unfounded.

Judge Staines convicted Phelan and fined him €200.