Dundalk District Court
A homeless man who Dundalk Circuit Court was told had worked as a 'gardener' tending cannabis plants in a growhouse in County Louth, to have an income and somewhere to sleep, has been sentenced to 18 months at Dundalk Circuit Court sitting in Drogheda.
A sentencing hearing last Tuesday was told that Gintaras Kazlauskas (47) had returned home to Lithuania but has been in custody here since he was extradited on foot of a European Arrest Warrant a year ago.
Gardaí were dealing with another matter at Hazelwood Avenue, Bay Estate, Dundalk on July 12th 2017 when they found the defendant and another individual.
Three rooms in the property were converted into a growhouse and Judge Mary O'Malley Costello noted the defendant was living in poor circumstances - with a mattress on the floor as his bed.
He had been employed to cultivate the cannabis plants which had an estimated street value of €88,000.
The judge noted he had absconded and did not come back to meet the case until he was arrested on foot of a European Arrest Warrant.
She accepted he was not the 'organiser' of the operation and she had been told he was homeless at the time and had a serious alcohol problem and had taken the job to have an income and have a place to sleep.
The defendant had no previous convictions in either jurisdiction and had engaged in counselling.
Prosecutor Kevin Segrave told Judge O'Malley Costello that the defendant did not contest his extradition and had spent 75 days in custody in Lithuania before being returned here.
Taking into account the time served on remand, the judge imposed an 18 month sentence which was back dated to November 23rd last year, when he went into custody.
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