A CHINESE national convicted of cultivating cannabis plants has been ordered to leave the country in return for a suspended sentence.
Zhe Lin, of no fixed abode, committed the offence at Boherard, Ballacolla, on June 19 last year.
Garda Robert Foran gave evidence that acting on a search warrant, he and a number of gardaí attended the defendant’s rented accommodation on that date. The premises were empty, so the gardaí gained access via an open window at the rear, where they discovered what Garda Foran described as “a growhouse”. The garda said that 180 cannabis plants were discovered in the upstairs bedroom of the house, while a bag of cannabis leaves and a box of cuttings to be used for propagation were also found.
During the search, the defendant and another man arrived at the house in a BMW. Both men were arrested and brought to the garda station. Garda Foran said that Lin was fully co-operative and had admitted he was growing the plants. Lin also named an individual he claimed he was growing the plants for.
Garda Foran said that the gardaí did not have a valuation for the drugs seized. He also said that Lin’s co-accused has since “vanished”.
Defence barrister, Mr Seoirse O’Dunlaing said his client had been honest and forthright and had made no attempt to offer a “cock and bull story”. Mr O’Dunlaing said Lin’s role had been to “garden the plants” and he had enjoyed “no trappings of wealth” from the offence.
Remarking that Lin had “stayed to face the music,” Judge Tony Hunt asked whether he would be prepared to “go home” to China. Judge Hunt said that by April, Lin will have served almost a year in custody and if he leaves Ireland and does not return for ten years, the judge ruled he would suspend the balance of a three-year sentence. If Lin can not return to China and seeks asylum status here, the judge said he would require a lot more information before finalising the case.
The matter was put back to April 23, for arrangements to be in place for Lin to leave Ireland by May 3.