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District judge threatens to flex her drug sentencing muscle as ‘cautions mean diddly-squat’

Hearing defendant's mother was unaware he took drugs she asked: 'Did she think he was wearing some kind of fancy aftershave?'

Craigavon Magistrates Court

A Portadown man has been warned that if he is caught in possession of cannabis again his car will be taken off him.

Upon hearing that the 22-year-old’s mother, with whom he lives, did not know of his drug use, the district judge asked: “What, did she think he was wearing some kind of fancy aftershave?”

Luke Harrison, of Selshion Hall, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on February 17, police stopped a car on Church Street, Portadown, with three male occupants.

Officers noted a strong smell of cannabis and during a search of the defendant, who was the driver of the vehicle, a rolled cannabis cigarette was found in his pocket.

When interviewed, Harrison made full admission to possession.

Court heard that the defendant had one caution for a similar offence.

District Judge Bernie Kelly commented: “I have the power to take any vehicle which has been used in an offence. If people are going to congregate in vehicles to use drugs I just might start using it.

“Because apparently cautions mean diddly-squat.”

Defence counsel stated: “Mr Harrison had been associating with a group which was having a negative impact on him, he has since pulled back.

“He is a second-year business student at Jordanstown and his mother was not aware of his drug use until today.”

District Judge Kelly said: “He lives with his mother, does she do his washing for him? I know if there was a smell in my house I would know, it is unmistakable and hangs around.

“What, did she think he was wearing some kind of fancy aftershave?”

Harrison was ordered to pay a fine of £350, along with the offender’s levy of £15.

District Judge Kelly told the defendant: “If I ever see you again I am going to take the car off you.”

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