Judge suggests regular cannabis user could move to the Netherlands if he wishes to continue the habit

The judge reminded the defendant that cannabis was illegal in Ireland

Donegal courthouse

Donegal Town courthouse

A district court judge suggested that if a habitual cannabis user wanted to avail of the illegal drug, he could move to the Netherlands.

Nicholas Browne, 57, of 1 Tir Chonaill Street, Donegal Town was before Donegal District Court on Wednesday. He admitted two counts of possession of cannabis as well as two counts of possession of the drug for sale and supply. The offences occurred on November 9, 2019 at 9 Gleann Aoibhinn, Killybegs and at 1 Tir Chonaill Street, Donegal.

Superintendent Colm Nevin told the court that on the date in question, gardaí executed a search warrant. At the Killybegs property they found cannabis resin in different areas of the house. The total value was €300. 

They also found a mobile phone which showed what the superintendent described as “records of people looking for drugs.”

Cash totalling €500 was also found.

The superintendent said that Browne admitted that the cannabis was intended for sale and that the €500 was proceeds of dealing.

Cannabis worth €70 was found during a further search at the Donegal Town property.

The court heard that Browne had a number of previous convictions for possession of cannabis.

Judge Kevin Kilrane asked: “Is he selling to friends to fund himself with drugs or is he making a living from it?”

Superintendent Nevin replied: “It would be the gardaí’s opinion that he would be one of the dealers locally in this town. 

“I would say it is to benefit his drug habit but as can be seen, he has a pattern of drugs.”

Defence solicitor Rory O’Brien agreed that this was the case, saying his client had been a habitual cannabis user for 30 years.

“He is not dealing at all any more,” said Mr O’Brien.

He added that Browne had fully cooperated with gardaí and had attended the garda station voluntarily.

In imposing fines totalling €500, Judge Kilrane said: “The defendant is a small time dealer in respect of cannabis, supplying a number of friends and acquaintances to fund his own drug habit. 

“This is illegal. If he wants to avail of this drug he had better go to the Netherlands or some such place where it is legal.”

The money seized during the search was forfeited to the state.

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