“That’s a novel way of putting the car on the road,” remarked Judge Tony Hunt, in the case of a Dundrum man who claimed he operated a cannabis growhouse to pay for car repairs.
Alan Swan was arrested at 11 Clarmallagh, The Swan, Kildare, on January 31, 2012. Garda Wendy O’Connor gave evidence that 42 cannabis plants were growing in the house, with another 47 plants harvested and dried. The total value of the drug was €36,000.
In interview, Swan said he had been growing the plants for a friend or associate, but did not give a name. He told the gardaí he had a cash flow problem and needed to pay for car repairs.
Defence said that Swan had been “the gardener”, and had been smoking cannabis all his adult life. He was a family man who had not been working at the time, nor had his partner, and “the car debt was the straw that broke the camel’s back”.
“The country would be covered in growhouses if everyone went down that road,” declared Judge Hunt, adding that growhouses seem to be a particular feature of the Midlands. He remarked that Swan had a number of previous convictions for drugs, for which he had received suspended sentences.
“The penny hasn’t really dropped,” said the judge.
The matter was put back to March 6, 2014, for a probation report.