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Man told police he bought cannabis from Jesus and it ‘relaxed him around idiots’

Craigavon Magistrates Court

A Craigavon man who told police that he had bought cannabis from Jesus has been given a chance to show he is no longer a “heavy drug user”.

Court heard that the 42-year-old also told officers that the substance “relaxed him around idiots”.

Arthur O’Neill, of Parkmore, appeared for sentencing on one count of possession of Class B at town’s Magistrates’ on Friday.

Prosecution outlined that on March 14, at around 7.30pm, police on patrol of Parkmore in Craigavon observed the defendant, who appeared startled by their presence.

When asked if he had any drugs, O’Neill replied “personal use” but when told to had over the substance he began to walk on.

Officers stopped the defendant and conducted a search, during which a small amount of cannabis resin was located in his wallet.

During interview, O’Neill admitted to being in possession of cannabis; he said he could not remember how much he had paid for it but he had bought it from Jesus.

He also told police that the drug “relaxed him around idiots” before questioning issues around legality of the substance.

Defence barrister Damien Halloran stated: “Mr O’Neill instructs he only received a letter from probation informing him of his appointment (for a pre-sentence report) after the date.

“This was a plea at the first opportunity. He was caught red handed, the last entry on his record is from April of 2015 for cultivating cannabis and he is not in breach of any suspended sentences.

“He has been a heavy cannabis user but has already attended with his general practitioner who has referred him to community addictions and he has abstained from cannabis.

“He has two children, the eldest of which has expressed a desire to live with him. He has also been working in a restaurant for the past five months which is the longest time he has spent in employment in 10 years.”

Mr Halloran added: “It is accepted that he did not pass the attitude test when he was first caught but that is not unusual.”

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “Mr O’Neill, I have read what you told police on your views on drugs, it will not be a surprise to you that I am not impressed.”

Speaking out, the defendant said: “At the time I was still a heavy drug user, and as Mr Halloran has said I have been clean for four weeks.”

Judge Kelly told O’Neill: “I am going to defer this sentencing for six months, in that time I want an updated pre-sentence report, I want you to keep your job or if you lose it through no fault of you own, find another.

“I also want you to remain drug free and to behave yourself, that means that the police are not given any reason to stop or speak to you.”

O’Neill was released to appear on April 3 for sentencing.

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