Man threw €70k worth of cannabis into garden

Man threw €70k worth of cannabis into garden

By Jessica Magee 

A man who threw over €70,000 of cannabis into a neighbour’s garden when gardai called to the door has been sentenced to two years in prison.

Greg Gilligan (58) of Avonbeg Gardens, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possessing cannabis and a small quantity of crack cocaine at his home on August 24, 2016.

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Passing sentence on Monday, Judge Martin Nolan accepted that Gilligan had been storing the drugs for a friend and that when the drugs were lost, he had been lumbered with a debt.

“He’s a mature man and this was bad judgement on his part,” said Judge Nolan, adding that counsel for Gilligan had presented an “impressive mitigation” on his behalf.

Giollaiosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, had requested a fully-suspended sentence for his client given what he described as a “truly exceptional and unusual case”.

He told the court that Gilligan was a very caring person who did charitable work for homeless people, including letting a homeless person live in his house at the time of the offence.

Mr Ó Lideadha said Gilligan had agreed to mind something for this friend of his living in his house who was a drug addict. “It went missing and I got stuck with a debt of €2,500,” Gilligan told gardai.

Garda Ciarán O’Neill accepted that Gilligan was genuinely remorseful and had no previous convictions. The court heard that Gilligan himself had been addicted to cannabis and cocaine but was now drug-free.

Garda O’Neill told Erin Crawford BL, prosecuting, that he had called to Gilligan’s house on the day in question with a search warrant, on foot of confidential information.

Gardai received no reply to a knock on the door but they saw the accused come to an upstairs window and then go out of sight. Gda O’Neill went to the back garden and heard a thud, whereupon he saw a large black hold-all bag landing in the neighbour’s garden, having been thrown from a window.

Gardai forced entry to the house and found Gilligan, whom they said was shaking. He was cooperative and answered every question on arrest. The black hold-all bag which had been flung from the window contained €71,695 worth of cannabis.

A very small amount of crack cocaine was also discovered in the house, along with drugs paraphernalia including a number of mobile phones and a weighing scales.

Gda O’Neill accepted that Gilligan had been storing the drugs and that a third party was going to sell them on.

The garda also agreed with counsel that Gilligan was a very positive person, always pleasant and charming, and very caring to homeless people and to neighbours.

The court heard Gilligan was at low risk of re-offending and had a good work record as a security guard, although he had given up his job after this offence.

Judge Nolan sentenced Gilligan to two years in prison.

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