Try and enjoy the music of Electric Picnic without taking drugs, was the advice given by District Court Judge Catherine Staines at last week’s court.
The judge spoke before dealing with a number of cases of people charged with having drugs at last year’s Electric Picnic, with cocaine and cannabis among the drugs detected by gardaí at the annual music festival.
Some 22 defendants were listed at last Thursday’s court, from all over the State.
As in previous years, any defendant with no previous convictions was given the chance to avoid a criminal conviction by making a donation of €300 to the court poor box. Anyone who made this donation had the charges against them struck out.
A number of cases were adjourned for the payment of the money, and a few cases were adjourned as the defendants were not in court.
Judge Staines said that most of the accused had been caught in possession of drugs at the Picnic, and they probably thought it was just a little bit of fun.
However, she pointed out: “You’ve bought those drugs from a drug dealer, drug dealers who are quite prepared to kill, torture or maim people - that’s the people you’re supporting.”
Judge Staines said that many of the accused were talented, educated people, and they needed to look into the effects of ecstasy and cannabis.
She said that cannabis could lead to schizophrenia for people predisposed to the condition, and drug use can also lead to people running up debts.
“I know of 16-year-olds and their parents are crying their eyes out because people have taken these substances,” said Judge Staines, adding that she hoped all of the accused took her words on board.
After her warning on the dangers of drugs, Judge Staines went on to say that people often make mistakes and the court was willing to give them an opportunity.
However, she told the accused that if they came back before the court again they could get a prison sentence.
She said that all the money donated to the poor box would go to local charities, as well as Ana Liffey and homeless causes.
“Try and enjoy the music without drugs - it’s great music,” she told the accused.