A Tunisian national told the district court that €1,600 of cannabis found in his house was being held for another person in order to clear a drug debt.
Muhammad Chaari (38) Seabourne View, Charlesland, Greystones, Co. Wicklow, was charged before last week’s court with drug possession, and possession for sale or supply.
Detective Garda Derek Barnett gave evidence that he searched the accused’s house at Corrig Lodge, Portarlington, on March 3 this year, discovering a large quantity of cannabis herb along with deal bags and weighing scales. The total value of drugs was €1,600.
Det Barnett said the accused claimed he was holding the drugs for another person because of a drug debt.
The accused had five previous convictions, all for theft.
Defence, Mr Declan Breen said his client, a Tunisian national living in Ireland 12 years, had two children and was estranged from his wife.
Up to the time of the offence, the accused had a cannabis habit which led to him building up a drug debt, so he agreed to hold the drugs and the paraphernalia for a reduction of the debt.
“He was impecunious at the time,” said Mr Breen, adding that Chaari is the fulltime carer for his two children.
Mr Breen went on to say that his client had moved out of Portarlington and has now left drugs behind him. He is currently working as a kitchen porter.
Judge Catherine Staines told the accused: “Dealing with a drug debt is not an excuse for drug dealing. You choose to buy the cannabis and then you rack up the debt.”
The judge convicted and fined the accused €300.
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