file pic of cannabis
Troy Butler, Apt 3, Corner Bar, Main St, Ballaghadereen, Co Roscommon was ordered to complete 240 hours of community service in lieu of 12 months in prison when he appeared before last week’s sitting of Carrick-on-Shannon Circuit Court having pleaded guilty to a charge of cultivation of cannabis.
Giving evidence Detective David Donnolly said the offence came to light as a result of confidential information received by Gardai. As a result of that information 4 Ard na Rí, Carrick-on-Shannon was identified as the house in question and a search warrant was issued.
The property was searched on February 21, 2017 with Det Donnolly stating 30 plants were discovered inside the house in what was referred to as a “complex growhouse.” Det Donnolly stated cultivated cannabis was also discovered.
Troy Butler was subsequently arrested and interviewed with Det Donnolly remarking that the defendant was “co-operative.”
Mr Butler told Gardaí he was cultivating cannabis for the production of cannabis oil to help sick people. The value of each plant was said to be €800 with Gda Donnolly saying the entire value of the plants discovered amounted to €24,000 while the value of the cultivated cannabis totalled €26,520.
Describing the growhouse Det Donnolly said, “It was fairly complex in a small area, it was well laid out in the attic. It was away from the living area.”
Outlining the defendant’s circumstances Det Donnolly said the defendant had been living at the address and was in a relationship with the woman who owns the house and he now lives in Roscommon.
Det Donnolly expressed the belief the defendant had not benefited financially from the enterprise saying, “There is no form of wealth. He is a very modest man. I am not aware he is working now.”
When asked by Judge John Aylmer if he accepted the story put forward by the defendant, Det Donnolly replied, “The forensic team indicated he was extracting the oil from the cannabis.”
Under cross-examination from Keith O’Grady BL, Det Donnolly agreed it takes a large amount of plants to extract a small amount of oil.
Mr O’Grady continued, “He (Mr Butler) told you when asked how much cannabis he would need to fill a Dolmio jar with cannabis oil, he said ‘you’d need fields of it'.”
Det Donnolly agreed, “He said something like that.”
Det Donnolly added, ”He took responsibility immediately. He brought us up and showed us where it was.”
Mr O’Grady outlined his client’s circumstances saying, “He is a 51-year-old man, except for a speeding offence he never came to the attention of Gardai.
“When it was put to Mr Butler that he knew he was breaking the law he said, “absolutely”. In reply Det Donnolly said, “correct.”
Addressing Judge Aylmer Mr O’Grady stated, “You are not dealing with someone involved in criminality.
“He is an habitual cannabis user. Clearly his days of cultivation are over, he said that in interview.”
Having heard the evidence against Mr Butler, Judge Aylmer said he deemed the offences to be at the lower end of the offence of cultivation.
Prior to considering the mitigating circumstances Judge Aylmer said the offence would carry a sentence of 18 months.
Judge Aylmer said he did not consider the defendant’s sole previous offence, for speeding, to be relevant.
Judge Aylmer also noted, “The explanation has been considered as truthful by Gardaí.”
Judge Aylmer deemed the defendant to be suitable for community service and ordered him to complete 240 hours community service in lieu of 12 months in prison.
Judge Aylmer also made a destruction order for the cannabis seized.
The State was represented by Donal Keane BL and Noel Farrell, State Solicitor.