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Finglas man caught with cannabis worth €100k jailed for three and a half years

Judge Nolan said Voolain seemed unlikely to re-offend, but deserved a custodial sentence

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Eimear DoddSunday World

A man who had over €99,600 of cannabis in his possession, including 17 cannabis plants and over 4kg of the drug, has been handed a prison sentence.

Geido Voolain (39) of Seagrave Terrace, Finglas, Dublin 7 pleaded guilty to one count of possessing of cannabis for sale or supply at the same address on December 1, 2020. He has a number of previous convictions including minor road traffic offences.

Voolain's partner Siobhan Myles (44) also with an address at Seagrave Terrace pleaded guilty to a charge that she knowingly permitted the cultivation of cannabis at the property on December 1, 2020. She has no previous convictions.

Imposing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today, Judge Martin Nolan said this was a “somewhat unusual case” as gardaí found both cannabis plants and a quantity of the drug, for which Voolain was “hoping to act as a middle man”.

He said Voolain had clearly anticipated some profit after buying a relatively large quantity of cannabis. Judge Nolan said Voolain seems unlikely to re-offend, but deserves a custodial sentence. He imposed a prison term of three and a half years.

Judge Nolan said Myles had allowed the plants to be grown on her property and had minded them while Voolain was in hospital. He said it was understandable she involved herself when asked by her partner to help mind the plants, but she shouldn't have done this. Judge Nolan handed her a two-and-a-half year sentence, suspended on strict conditions.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that gardaí obtained a warrant to search the property, where both defendants were living, on the day in question. A locked concrete shed was found in the back garden.

Myles was present in the house at the time of the search and told gardaí she didn't know where the key for the shed was. She then handed over a bunch of keys, none of which worked.

Gardaí managed to open the shed and found a cannabis grow house containing 17 plants, air vents, lighting and irrigation systems. They also found three vacuum-packed bags of cultivated cannabis, some jars and small bags with the drug. A safe containing €4,930 and £140 was also located.

Of the 17 cannabis plants, 11 were ready to be harvested and had a value of €8,800, with the others having a potential value of €4,800. The vacuum-packed bags covered 4.3kg of cannabis, valued at €86,080.

After caution, Myles told gardaí she was owner of the property. When Voolain returned home, he told gardaí the cannabis was his. Both signed the garda's notebook.

Both defendants made admissions during interview. Voolain said he started to grow cannabis as a hobby, but it became an obsession. He re-iterated his ownership of the drug and admitted that he sold some to his friends.

Voolain denied cultivating the vacuum-packed cannabis and said he had been given the opportunity to buy it at a cost of €50,000, then sell it on. His phone's browsing history contained searches for how to grow cannabis at home. There were also messages consistent with Voolain selling some of the drugs.

Myles told gardaí that she helped to water the plants while Voolain was in hospital following an accident. Gardaí found texts between the pair about this.

The investigating garda agreed with Seamus Clarke SC, defending Voolain, that his client was fully co-operative with gardaí and took ownership of the plants. Voolain said he was trying to make some money as he was not working following an accident.

The garda also accepted Voolain told them the drugs had nothing to do with Myles, and the couple had argued about this. It was also agreed that Myles told gardaí she'd asked Voolain to stop and had made no financial gain.

Defence counsel for Myles put it to the garda that his client panicked and made an attempt to delay them getting in to the shed, which was accepted.

The gardaí agreed with counsel that his client was then fully co-operative and told them she had watered the plants on one occasion in June 2020.

Myles told gardaí she was aware that Voolain had been growing the plants for about a year, and that there were around seven plants at that time.

The garda accepted that Myles said during interview she was unaware the number of plants in the shed had increased at some point between June and December 2020, when gardaí searched the property. He also confirmed that Myles is working and has not come to garda attention since this incident. Myles is a mother-of-three.

Mr Clarke said his client moved to Ireland from Estonia 20 years ago and has one son. His client suffered an injury in a bike accident, but had been working in construction. Documents were handed in on behalf of Voolain including a reference showing that he is now working.

Counsel said Voolain had an alcohol problem, has not come to garda attention since this incident and asked the court for as much leniency as possible.

Judge Nolan noted the mitigating factors for Voolain include an early guilty plea, his co-operation with gardaí and good work history.

He said he would consider Myles's co-operation, early guilty plea, work history and lack of previous convictions as mitigation. Judge Nolan said he considers Myles is unlikely to re-offend, and has a lower level of culpability.

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