Law student receives suspended sentance for cannabis

By Aine Pennello

Trinity College law student Cian O’Concubhair has received a five-year suspended sentence for operating a cannabis factory in his home in Kinvara, Co. Galway.
The twenty-five year old had been growing cannabis in a shed behind his rental accommodation for a year before he was caught by gardai in March 2009. Garda Paul McWalter said 72 cannabis plants had been found inside the shed along with 13 plants and 75 saplings in a tent inside the house. The plants were estimated to have a street value of almost €50,000 and a bi-annual crop value of €30,000. At the time the accused, from Liscannor Co. Clare, had dropped out of university and was working as a stonemason.
At a hearing in December 2010 O’Concubhair told the Galway Circuit Criminal Court he had bought cannabis seeds from a head shop in Dublin and purchased instructional books and DVDs to learn how to grow the plant. Defence barrister Conal McCarthy told the courts his client had used the drugs only to feed his own acute addiction and that of ten friends and family. McCarthy said O’Concubhair had not sold the drugs to anyone else and had since gone back to university to study law and was now drug-free.
O’ Concubhair pleaded guilty to charges of possessing cannabis of a €50,000 street value on December 14, 2010. The accused was remanded in custody over Christmas until January 11 when the five-year suspended sentence was decided.
Judge Raymond Groarke decided not to impose the minimum ten-year sentence required under Section 15(A) of the Criminal Justice Act, 1999 since O’ Concubhair had not been selling drugs on the market.
“Your chosen path as a lawyer must be considerably prejudiced by this conviction,” he said to O’Concubhair in December.