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Man hit with suspended sentence and £1,000 fine after police find £1,000 of cannabis in his shed

The district judge told him: 'If you can afford to buy drugs you can afford to pay this fine'

A man has been given a suspended sentence after £1,000 worth of cannabis was found in a garden shed during a planned police search.

The district judge told the 37-year-old: “The police aren’t fools, the prosecution aren’t fools and I am not a fool. I don’t know what your ambitions or hopes are but you need to put this sort of behaviour behind you.”

Barry Oliver McCaul, of Cross Heights in Rathfriland, appeared for sentencing on one count of possession of a Class B drug at Armagh Magistrates’ Court, sitting at Newry.

Prosecution outlined that on October 7, of last year, police conducted a search of the defendant’s home in Rathfriland under a warrant.

During this, officers removed a quantity of suspected cannabis from a shed. When examined this was found to be around 248-grammes of the substance.

Police also seized a number of mobile phones from the property. These were analysed but no evidence of drug supply was found.

When interviewed, McCaul stated that he was a heavy user and had purchased the cannabis – for £1,000 – in bulk in order to save money.

Defence barrister Conn O’Neill stated: “The police fully investigated all lines over 14 months and ultimately came back to what he had said during interview.”

He added that due to the matter before the court, the defendant had encountered issues with his partner over his “relaxed view on cannabis”.

District Judge Paul Copeland, addressing the defendant, stated: “Mr Mr O’Neill has professionally highlighted mitigating issues, however, I also need you to come  face-to-face with the issues here.

“You have multiple convictions for drugs and you come here as an unemployed car recovery driver who can throw £1,000 to buy dope.”

He continued: “The police aren’t fools, the prosecution aren’t fools and I am not a fool. I don’t know what your ambitions or hopes are but you need to put this sort of behaviour behind you.”

Sentencing McCaul, District Judge Copeland commented: “If you can afford to buy drugs you can afford to pay this fine.”

The defendant was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to pay a fine of £1,000, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 20 weeks.

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