A Lithuanian woman convicted of manslaughter in Germany 10 years ago and ‘premeditated murder’ in her home country, was found in a local property with a sophisticated growhouse operation upstairs, Dundalk Circuit Court heard last week.
Aldona Svobuniene (60) admitted cultivating cannabis plants and having cannabis herb for sale or supply at an address on the Castletown Road, Dundalk on March 20th last year.
The court heard the defendant was found in a downstairs bedroom, when gardai used an official enforcer door rammer, to gain entry after they got no answer from the front or back door.
Cannabis herb with an estimated street value of over €21,000 was discovered there, and cannabis plants worth an estimated €37,000, were found in two upstairs bedrooms converted for cultivation.
Through a Garda, who speaks Lithuanian, the accused said she had arrived in Ireland two months earlier and wasn’t allowed to go upstairs. She claimed she didn’t know what cannabis smelled like and said she was an unpaid cleaner.
She also denied acting as a gardener in the operation.
The defendant had 14 previous convictions elsewhere, but none in this jurisdiction. Her barrister said his client had been collected at Dublin airport and brought to the address. He explained the homicide conviction from 2010 related to his client cleaning up an apartment, where a fatal stabbing occurred on New Year’s Eve and added he was instructed a conviction for premeditated murder in Lithuania in 1999, related to a car accident where she was at fault.
He described his client as a ‘bottom feeder’ who had been targeted by others.
Judge Patrick Quinn imposed a sentence of two years and eight months and made it a condition that she give an undertaking to return to Lithuania and stay there for at least five years.
Unusually, the Defence barrister asked the order to be stayed until November, when his client who has undergone dental treatment, will have her teeth she is awaiting, returned.
Judge Quinn acceded to the request and directed that the defendant must leave the country by December first.