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Teen on cannabis charge tells court “I've not even been smoking weed”

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
The 16-year old was placed on supervised probation for 12 months
The 16-year old was placed on supervised probation for 12 months

A DUBLIN youth caught with almost €8,000 worth of cannabis has been spared a custodial sentence.

The 16-year-old boy, who claimed he was carrying 350 deals to pay off a drug debt, was placed on supervised probation for 12 months.

He was caught with the drugs at a location in Tallaght on a date in December last year and pleaded guilty at the Dublin Children's Court to possessing the cannabis for the purpose of sale or supply.

Judge John O'Connor noted the value of the drug deals seized was €7,610 and he said that “gives the impression he was dealing at a significant level”. He said drugs was a factor in 90 per cent of cases before the court.

The youth had one prior conviction for drug possession and the judge had warned earlier that a four-month sentence would be imposed unless a positive updated probation report on the teenager was furnished to the court.

Defence counsel Damian McKeone said the teenager had a €1,760 drug debt and felt obliged to get involved in collecting the cannabis supply that was seized by gardai.

The court was asked to note the boy accepted he had a drug problem but he was attending addiction counselling. The court heard the teenager had reluctantly attended family therapy.

The teenager also told the court “I've not even been smoking weed.”

An uncle of the youth told the court he has been trying to get him work. He also brought his nephew to people for advise and the youth had calmly listened, the man said.

Judge O'Connor gave the teenager a chance over a further four-week period to engage more with support services to avoid a custodial sentence. When the case resumed a positive welfare report on the youth was furnished.

Judge O’Connor imposed a 12-month probation bond.

The conditions state the youth must not re-offend and continue to attend drug addiction counselling as well as a attend a training course over the next year. He must also attend appointments with the Probation Service to help divert him from re-offending. Otherwise, the case could be re-entered for a custodial sentence to be imposed instead.