Leitrim court hears defendant was ‘exploited by others’

Leitrim court hears defendant was ‘exploited by others’

A Sooey man, who “was exploited by others” was caught cultivating cannabis plants with a “potential value” of €32,000 in County Leitrim, Manorhamilton District Court heard.
Christopher Ringe (38) from Roughin, Sooey, Co Sligo pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis plants without a licence on August 7 at Kilcoo Road, Kiltyclogher.

Sergeant Michael Gallagher told the court that Sergeant McGrath and others searched a location for drugs on the date in question.
On entering, they saw a cannabis operation with lighting and heat and 40 to 50 pots of the drug at an early stage of development.
The potential value of the drugs was €32,000, the court was told.
The defendant was arrested along with another person.
He admitted tending the plants and watering them.
The defendant said he bought cannabis seeds for €80 in Sligo and planted some of them.

Defence solicitor Gerry McGovern said a letter from the defendant’s mother summed him up.
The defendant had been living rough and was under the care of the mental health services.
He was exploited by others, and he was tending the plants.

Judge Kevin Kilrane said this case sounded worse than it is.
The defendant had bought these seeds and plants and tended them, and they were not exactly thriving.
“The value is theoretical rather than actual,” he said.
The judge said the defendant had no previous convictions and it was the most amateurish of efforts to grow cannabis.
“But we have to record a conviction.”
Judge Kilrane fined the defendant €300 and made an order for the destruction of the drugs.

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