herald

Saturday 23 September 2017

Man grew €16k of cannabis at home for 'pain relief'

Shane Byrne appeared at Balbriggan District Court
Shane Byrne appeared at Balbriggan District Court

A barber suffering from chronic pain due to osteoarthritis was caught growing €16,000 worth of cannabis plants at his home.

Shane Byrne (44) said that he was using the drug for medicinal purposes to give him pain relief.

The father-of-three has great difficulty working because of the pain and has only worked intermittently over the past number of years, the court heard.

He was described by his solicitor as a "decent man struggling with difficulties".

Gardai searched Byrne's home two years ago and found many cannabis plants of various different growth stages.

"He has a serious addiction to cannabis and realises the seriousness of what he did," his solicitor Patrick Branigan told the court.

"His arrest has had a serious strain on him, his family and his work and he had a breakdown afterwards but is doing well now."

Abusing

Byrne, of Fancourt Heights in Balbriggan, Co Dublin pleaded guilty to the cultivation of the cannabis plants at his home on December 3, 2014.

Byrne further pleaded guilty to being in unlawful possession of cannabis on the same date.

Judge Dermot Dempsey said no doubt the defendant is aware his mental health won't be helped by abusing cannabis to which Mr Branigan said: "It helps with his chronic pain but he knows the law of the land that it is illegal, although politicians are in discussions to consider allowing the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes."

Byrne had previously told the court he "wants to get back to work" but has stopped attending counselling.

The barber was given a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years for the cultivation of the cannabis plants at Balbriggan District Court.

Judge Dempsey also fined Byrne €100 for being in unlawful possession of cannabis.

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