Stop using cannabis or you will go to jail

Stop using cannabis or you’ll end up in prison.

Stop using cannabis or you’ll end up in prison.

That was the stark warning given last week by Judge Catherine Staines to a 19-year-old Abbeyleix man facing numerous charges whose case had been adjourned for a probation report.

Sean McHugh, 8 Temperance Street, Abbeyleix, was charged with burglaries, thefts, criminal damages, affray, obstruction of a peace officer, and failure to comply.

Among the burglaries were two incidents where he broke into the Sue Ryder charity shop on Main Street, Abbeyleix. He was in the company of two other individuals during one of the break-ins at the shop in which a mobile phone was taken.

He had previously been described by Judge Staines as “a vulnerable young man” who was being used by certain individuals. She recommended immediate action in trying to get McHugh accommodation in a supervised setting to prepare him for assisted living.

At last week’s Portlaoise District Court, defence for McHugh, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick said that there was “a huge concern” raised in the probation report on her client.

“He has a lot to do,” admitted Ms Fitzpatrick, highlighting the “psychological aspect” of the report.

Defence requested another adjournment in the case.

After reading the probation report, Judge Staines remarked: “The probation officer says he has no interest in giving up cannabis.”

Addressing McHugh directly, Judge Staines said: “If you keep using cannabis you’re going to end up owing money to drug dealers.

“You have to deal seriously with your drug problem. You’ll end up in prison if you don’t stop using cannabis.”

Judge Staines said she would adjourn the matter one last time for an up-to-date probation report, and warned McHugh that it would have to be a good report.

The case was put back to July 19.