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Armagh man with 161 previous convictions given suspended jail sentence on drugs charge

District judge said previous charges were 'across the calendar of criminal offences'

An Armagh man with 161 previous convictions “across the calendar of criminal offences” has been handed a suspended sentence.

Court heard that this offence – which involved the possession of 200g of herbal cannabis – predated later convictions of a similar nature for the 36-year-old.

Anthony Christopher McLaughlin, of Corrigan Court, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at the city’s Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Court heard that on January 19, 2016, the defendant’s home address was searched by police under the misuse of drugs act.

McLaughlin was present at the search during which 200g of suspected herbal cannabis along with scales and bags were found.

When interviewed, the defendant made no admissions.

Forensic analysis confirmed that the substance was cannabis.

During a second interview, McLaughlin still made no admissions.

Defence counsel stated: “Had this been more significant this could have been dealt with at the Crown Court.

“This offence is from January 2016 and predates the two previous relevant entries for possession of Class B. He maintains that this was for personal use.”

District Judge Brian Archer said: “This is a person with 161 previous, this is criminality not just for drugs but across the calendar of criminal offences.”

McLaughlin was sentenced to two months in prison suspended for two years.

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