Dundalk man told court he grew cannabis to alleviate back pain

Dundalk man told court he grew cannabis to alleviate back pain

Dundalk courthouse

A man who denied having drugs for sale or supply and claimed he was growing cannabis plants in his home to self-medicate for back pain and save money, had his case adjourned at Dundalk district court last week for preparation of a Probation report.

Kieran Barker with an address at Castletowncooley, Dundalk also told Judge Eirinn McKiernan he had bought cannabis herb found hidden in his car because it was lockdown and it was harder to get.

The 42 year old and his partner Sandra Di Santo (34) were before the court last Wednesday charged with cultivating cannabis plants, unlawful possession of the cannabis herb and having the drug for sale or supply on May 21st last year.

The court heard that 10 plants with an estimated street value of €8,000 were found at their home and a small amount of cannabis was discovered in a kitchen drawer, after a search warrant was executed.

It had been obtained after Kieran Barker’s vehicle was stopped and searched on John Street in Ardee.

He removed a wrap of cannabis from his waistband when he was informed it was going to be searched and a vacuum pack of the drug was found hidden behind the car radio and a second pack was found in the door. The drugs seized then were valued at €750.

The Defence barrister said he had instructions that the drugs were for personal use and pointed out the plants were growing naturally and no heat or lighting was being used to cultivate them.

When Judge Eirinn McKiernan asked why the cannabis herb was vacuum packed, Mr. Barker said that’s how he bought it and said he has smoked it since the age of 15 having suffered a serious back injury playing football.

He also told the judge his partner’s back pain is worse than his.

He denied having the drug for sale or supply saying “It was our own weed. We were in a lockdown situation and were finding it difficult to get it”.

He stressed “It wasn’t a money making idea. It was to save us money”.

Court presenter Sgt. Jimmy McGovern pointed out the DPP had directed summary disposal – which means the case is dealt with at district court level, on a guilty plea only.

The case was put back to second calling so the Defence could discuss the matter with Mr. Barker and when it was recalled, the barrister affirmed the guilty plea and said his client admitted supplying the cannabis to his partner.

After hearing the defendant had no previous convictions, Judge McKiernan adjourned both cases to October 6th for preparation of a Probation report but said “I’m not guaranteeing anything”.

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