herald

Saturday 24 August 2019

What a dope... cannabis user complains to gardai about quality of drugs

Arthur Liwembe went to the station to complain
Arthur Liwembe went to the station to complain

This is the man who took a bag of cannabis to a Dublin garda station to complain that it was "not of good quality".

Arthur Liwembe (34) went to the station of his own accord and presented the cannabis to a garda to say he was not happy with it.

The former student nurse has been spared a six-month jail stretch.

Instead, he has been ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.

Dublin District Court was told that he has separately been given a deportation order.

Guilty

Liwembe, an asylum seeker, pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis at Kilmainham Garda Station last July 10.

He also pleaded guilty to a number of other charges.

Defence solicitor Anne Fitzgibbon told Judge John Hughes that since his last court appearance in March, Liwembe had been found suitable for community service.

The only problem, she said, was the issuing of an order to leave Ireland by June 22, or present for deportation on June 26.

She accepted this was a separate system and said Liwembe, from Malawi, might appeal that because he now wished to stay and work in Ireland.

The accused, who had had a "very difficult upbringing", was now clean of cannabis, she told the court.

Judge Hughes said he recalled the case because of "the unusual nature of going to a garda station" with cannabis.

"Looking to be arrested springs to mind," he said.

Ms Fitzgibbon explained that Liwembe had been concerned that the cannabis he had bought "could be detrimental to other people's health".

Previously, Garda Ian Foley gave evidence that Liwembe went to the garda station and produced a bag of cannabis valued at €10 from his pocket.

He was searched and a boxcutter knife was found on him.

Ms Fitzgibbon said Liwembe had "walked into the police station and handed the cannabis to the garda".

The knife was for working as a handyman, she said.

Gda Foley told Judge Hughes he believed Liwembe was suffering from problems at the time of the incident.

"He said he had bought the drugs, and believed them not to be of good quality, and that was why he attended the garda station," Gda Foley said.

Liwembe returned on a later date, asked for the confiscated knife to be returned, and became aggressive when this was refused.

Judge Hughes said Liwembe's behaviour was "illogical to say the least".

He added that it was indicative of a cannabis-induced "psychosis".

Separately, Liwembe admitted repeatedly trespassing at an address in Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore, where he used to live and work.

The court heard he got in without permission and damaged an internal door on one occasion.

Once he was discovered in a bedroom and told gardai he was "just trying to sleep".

He was under the "misapprehension that he still lived there".

Liwembe came to Ireland in 2012 as a student nurse.

When his visa ran out, he applied for residency on the basis that he had an Irish-born child, the court was told.

Liwembe had been using cannabis which could lead to "transient psychotic symptoms", said Ms Fitzgibbon.

The community service order was imposed for trespassing, with the drugs charge taken into consideration.

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