Lochside Garage

Man with £1,300 of cannabis in his house walks free

Cannabis was seized in search of Enniskillen man’s home

AN ENNISKILLEN man who said he was forced to keep over £1,300 of cannabis under his bed by someone he owed money to has avoided a conviction in court.
Declan McLaughlin (48) of Beech Hill, Cavanaleck appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Monday where he pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug with intent to supply, and possession of a Class B drug.
On Saturday, February 17th police searched McLaughlin’s home on foot of a warrant. When they arrived the defendant brought the officer to a bedroom where they found nine individually wrapped packages containing herbal cannabis under the bed.
The total weight was 138.41 grams, worth an estimated £1,380. Scales, two mobile phones, and £343 cash was also found.
A small amount of herbal cannabis was also found elsewhere in the house.
McLaughlin denied supplying the drug and told police he had a gambling debt of £1,200 and had been told to hold the drugs or he and his son would be hurt. He refused to say who had threatened him.
The defendant, who has been deemed as a low likelihood of reoffending, told police he did use cannabis and the smaller amount they found had been for his own personal use.
McLaughlin, a single father, told police he was ashamed and embarrassed, and had let a lot of people down by what he’d done.
Defence solicitor Gary Black said from the moment police had arrived at his home McLaughlin had led them to the cannabis. He said he’d been frank and honest with them and had wanted to cooperate.
Mr Black said the cash had belonged to a friend of McLaughlin’s, which had been confirmed by police, and police also had confirmed the phones found had nothing to do with drugs.
With regard to the value, Mr Black said if the cannabis had been sold in smaller packages it may have been worth what had been estimated, but divided into ounces as it was found in McLaughlin’s home it would’ve been worth less.
District Judge Trevor Browne said it was “a wholly exceptional case.” He said given McLaughlin’s previous good character, it had been through his own vulnerability that he’d got himself into “a complete mess.”
Judge Browne gave McLaughlin an 18 month conditional discharge, and told him to “draw a line under this and move on.”


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