Pair had cannabis factory in bedroom
TWO MEN who cultivated cannabis worth €36,000 have been sentenced to community sentence by Tallaght Court. Judge Anthony Halpin sentenced Edward Arkins and Paul O'Neill to 240 hours community service with three months jail in default. The court had previously accepted jurisdiction in the case. Arkins, aged 37, and O'Neill, aged 34, both with an address at Maplewood Lawn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis at the above address on June 29, 2012. They also pleaded guilty to simple possession of cannabis and with simple possession of genus cannabis at the above address also on June 29, 2012. Sergeant Bernard Jones told the court that on the above date, Garda Michelle McGuinness obtained a warrant to search the above address and was accompanied by other members of the gardai. In the box bedroom they found two fully grown cannabis plants along with sophisticated hydroponic lighting, heating arid cooling systems surrounded by foil. They also saw 20 cannabis plants in wardrobe in the front upstairs bedroom. These plants appeared to be at an early stage of growth. In the kitchen they ob-served a large tent which contained one large mature cannabis plant ,five medium sized cannabis plants and fifteen smaller cannabis plants which appeared to be at an early stage of growth. This tent also contained hydroponic lighting heating and cooling systems. On top of the tent there was a shopping bag containing dried cannabis leaves. On the window sill there were further plants at an early stage of growth. The drugs were seized and analysed and were found to be Cannabis as defined under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1984 which required a Licence to grow. Both were arrested and they made frank admissions of their involvement in the offence. The value of the drugs was E36,000 and were 46 plants in total. Padraig O'Donovan, solicitor for, Arkins and O'Neill, agreed with the facts but challenged some. He said that the DPP had a very comprehensive file submitted to her by Garda McGuinness and she directed two simple possession and a cultivation charge. A possession for sale or supply charge or a drug-trafficking charge had not been recommended. Mr O'Donovan stated his defence was based on botany as distinct on a matter of law. He quoted from the Garda file that some 40 of these plants were shoots hadn't rooted and would not be rich in THC, the ingredient for cannabis. This was accepted by the court as the prosecution could not disagree with the submission — which would have reduced the value of the drug to €3,000 as suggested by Judge Halpin after hearing Mr O’Donovan's submissions. Judge Halpin asked the cost in setting up such a sophisticated operation and Arkins responded €800. He said the law was designed purely to stop operations such as this which can be very profitable. Mr O’Donovan submitted documentary evidence that both defendants were attending counselling to deal with their addictions. Both defendants were unemployed and have trades.Considering the matter, Judge Halpin opted to impose community service. He remanded both defendants to a date in February for a community service report of 240 hours with three months jail in default. If suitable both were remanded to Tallaght District Court on February 11, 2013 for a Probation Report and if suitable he would impose 240 hours each or three months in default.