Had drug, but claims garda said no charges

A Portlaoise man who admitted to the district court he had cannabis last week pleaded not guilty to the possession of drugs, as he claimed the prosecuting garda had given him a caution and told him he would not be charged.

Before Portlaoise District Court was Justin Greene, with an address listed at 3 The Maisonettes, Harpurs Lane, Portlaoise. He is currently serving a sentence, with a release date of April 14, 2015.

He was charged with the possession of drugs, at O’Moore Place, Portlaoise, on August 4 this year.

“He was in possession of cannabis, but thought that Garda Ryan had cautioned him and nothing more,” said defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick. “He’s pleading not guilty.”

As Garda Ryan was not in court, Judge Catherine Staines let the matter stand for the gardaí to check Greene’s claim.

When the case was recalled, Inspector Aidan Farrelly told the court that Garda Ryan had given Greene a legal caution, written down Greene’s replies and signed it.

“You weren’t given an adult caution, you were cautioned and charged,” Judge Staines explained to Greene.

Greene replied that the garda had told him he wouldn’t be charged.

“Well you are charged. Are you pleading guilty or not?” asked the judge.

“Not guilty,” said Greene.

The matter was put back to January 2, 2014. Defence will be given a copy of the garda’s notebook entry.

Greene was also charged with using threatening or abusive behaviour, and failure to comply with the direction of the gardaí, at the Portlaoise Garda Station, on June 16.

Insp Farrelly gave evidence that Greene was in the public area of the station being abusive. He continued to press the bell at the desk and was asked to leave, but refused to do so. He also used profanities.

“He recalls very little of the incident,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.

Judge Staines imposed a one-month sentence.


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