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Armagh man who used cannabis as ‘painkiller’ fined £300

When police observed a small plastic bag containing suspected herbal cannabis on a sofa defendant asked said: 'That's mine. Are you going to arrest me for it?'

Armagh Magistrates' Court

An Armagh man who was caught with cannabis after police responded to an unrelated matter has been ordered to pay a fine of £300.

The 49-year-old’s solicitor told court that his client had not worked for four or five years, after having metal plates fitted following a fall, and that he used the substance as a “painkiller”

Idris Andrews, of Ballynahone Crescent, pleaded guilty to possession of Class B at the city’s Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry, on Tuesday.

Prosecution outlined that on September 25, police were called to an address in Armagh with regards to an unrelated matter.

Upon arrival, officers found that only this defendant was present at the property.

Police observed a small plastic bag containing suspected herbal cannabis on a sofa at the address.

Andrews asked officers: “That’s mine. Are you going to arrest me for it?”

The defendant was caution and when interviewed, on October 2, made full admissions to possession and ownership of the cannabis.

Defence solicitor Jarlath Fields stated: “I ask that he is given credit for his plea at the first opportunity. He does have an unfortunate record.

“He resides at this address with a friend. The friend had some difficulties with neighbours. The police did not attend with regards to him and there is no suggestion of any other criminal activity.”

He informed court that Andrews had a background in construction but had not worked for some four or five years, after having metal plates fitted following a fall.

Mr Fields said: “He instructs that he used the cannabis as a painkiller. He has three convictions on his record. There has been nothing since last year and that related to an incident from the year before.

“It has then been two years without an offence. On that last occasion it was Class C, diazepam.”

District Judge Paul Copeland ordered that Andrews pay a fine of £300, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

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