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Two police searches uncover cannabis at home of man with ‘long-standing addiction’

Defence said: 'He has a long standing addiction to cannabis, which dates back to his teenage years when he displayed disruptive behaviour'

A Portadown man has been sentenced to probation and community service after two police searches at his home uncovered cannabis.

The 22-year-old’s solicitor told court the defendant, who had “a long-standing addiction to cannabis”, had used the substance to self medicate his “disruptive behaviour” as a teenager.

Louis Neill, of Churchill Park, appeared for sentencing on two counts of possession of Class B at Craigavon Magistrates’, sitting at Lisburn, on Friday via videolink from his solicitor’s office.

Prosecution outlined that on August 14, of last year, police attended the home of the defendant for a search.

Neill pointed officers to a mix of cannabis and tobacco, and several other amounts of cannabis were also seized from the property.

During interview, the defendant made admissions and confirmed he understood it was an offence to be in possession of the substance.

Then on January 8, during another search of Neill’s home, a small amount of cannabis was located in a bin to the rear of the property.

A notebook interview was carried out, with the defendant making full admissions and stating the substance was for personal use.

Defence barrister Damien Halloran stated: “Mr Neill has given an account to probation which is consistent with his record. He is now reducing his cannabis intake, although I know your worship will still say this is an illegal substance.

“He is also now a father, he is a very different person from the one that I have represented in the past at the Craigavon Youth Courts.”

He continued: “He has a long standing addiction to cannabis, which dates back to his teenage years when he displayed disruptive behaviour.

“He instructs that he took cannabis to self medicate this behaviour, in his words to mellow out, but he knows that he should have sought help from his GP or counselling.”

District Judge Rosie Watters stated: “He is extremely lucky that he is only charged with simple possession. There was £1,600 worth of cannabis found and at least one message which indicated intent to supply.

“You have a really bad record and I really ought to send you to prison, but on the basis of what I have heard today I am going to impose a combination order.”

Neill was sentenced to a combination order comprising of two years probation and 100 hours of community service.

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