30 Sept 2022

Cannabis ordered on internet found in direct provision centre in Offaly

Cannabis ordered on internet found in direct provision centre in Offaly

Cannabis ordered on internet found in direct provision centre in Offaly

CANNABIS ordered on the internet was found in the direct provision centre in Banagher, Tullamore District Court heard.

Judge Catherine Staines was told last week that Irvin Lewis Casanova Sierra, a 32-year-old man with an address at Room 15, Shannon Lodge Hotel, Main Street, Banagher, had left the jurisdiction and would not be present for prosecutions alleging possession of cannabis at the hotel and at Harbour Road in the town on February 2 last year.

After Judge Staines ruled that the hearing of the case could go ahead in Mr Sierra's absence, Garda Jerry Sheehy outlined how he had observed the defendant “hanging around” the side of a vacant building.

When the garda spoke to Mr Sierra he smelled cannabis and when he was searched the accused handed over a small amount of the drug.

The man told the garda it was CBD flower cannabis he had for himself and said he had more cannabis in his hotel room.

Garda Sheehy said Mr Sierra was “100% co-operative” and invited the guards to the hotel room and there he handed over two more small plastic tubs of cannabis.

The contents were sent to the laboratory at Forensic Science Ireland and certificates for cannabis were returned for both containers.

Three days later Mr Sierra was formally interviewed at Banagher Garda Station where the accused detailed that the tubs contained CBD cannabis plant buds which he used for inhalation with a water pipe and vaping for medical purposes.

The defendant said it helped him with his anxiety, autism, stress disorder and schizophrenia. He said he bought the items for €60 on an online website two weeks earlier and that was his first order in Ireland.

The tubs contained California small buds mix which is known as haze, a strain of cannabis known as indica which the accused said is legal because it has a minimum amount of THC [Tetrahydrocannabinol ], less than 0.2%.

The man said he used it medically because of its 22% CBD content and he believed it was legal according to EU regulations.

His understanding was that if the THC was over 1% it would be illegal and he said he neither sold it or supplied it to anybody.

When Judge Staines was told the man had no previous convictions she said that because he had left the jurisdiction there was no point in imposing a fine. She applied the Probation Act.

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