A 55-year-old farmer who turned to growing cannabis when he ran into financial difficulties was spared jail time by Judge James McCourt.
The case of Mark Laffan, from Monmore, Crossabeg, was dealt with during a hearing for the hearing of judgment at Wexford District Court.
The defendant pleaded guilty to growing the illegal crop in an old home that had been converted into a shed.
When Gardaí arrived at his yard on the morning of November 9, 2017 with a search warrant, he unlocked the building.
The officials found 136 plants with a notional value of more than 38,000 euros.
The farm was equipped with lighting, irrigation and fertilizer systems.
Detective Garda Leonard Casey assumed that while Laffan owned the property, the expertise was provided by someone else.
Prosecutors believed the growhouse had been in production for three years and was capable of producing two harvests a year.
The court was told that the defendant turned to crime because of debts incurred after his cleaning business fell victim to the recession.
However, the detective figured that Laffan didn’t benefit from the illegal venture at all.
The judge was informed that he had been exploited by others.
It became known that the defendant suffered from depression and that his marriage had broken up.
Among those who were in the courtroom at the hearing to show their support were his three sisters.
He had no criminal record and Garda Casey was adamant that he would never face court again.
Judge McCourt accepted that Laffan was repentant and that he had not taken advantage of his offense.
It seemed he was a decent, honest man who got into trouble.
A 12-month sentence was recorded, but was suspended entirely when he agreed to be peace-bound for two years.
https://www.independent.ie/regionals/wexford/news/courts/wexford-farmer-turned-to-cannabis-cultivation-due-to-financial-woes-41832074.html The Wexford farmer turned to growing cannabis due to financial difficulties