Drugs offences | 

Man with 89 previous convictions caught with 140 cannabis plants in grow house

Clondalkin man John Kelly (36) played a supervisory role in a cannabis grow house set up in a derelict farmyard
Stock image: Cannabis plants

Stock image: Cannabis plants

Sonya McLean

A man who played a supervisory role in a cannabis grow house set up in a derelict farmyard has been remanded in custody pending sentence.

John Kelly (36) of Cherrywood Villas, Clondalkin pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivation of cannabis at Old Farm Yard, Johnstown Kennedy, Rathcoole, Co Dublin on November 26, 2018.

He has 89 previous convictions, the majority of which are for road traffic offences.

Garda Donal Donoghue told Simon Matthews BL, prosecuting, that the landowner became suspicious when his electricity bill went up and he noticed flash lights in the area of some derelict buildings in an old farmyard.

He contacted gardai who obtained a search warrant and attended at the scene. They heard voices and lights and observed a man coming from the building carrying a bucket of water.

Gardaí followed him inside to find three grow tents containing a total of 140 cannabis plants and saplings.

Gardaí estimate if all the plants were female and had grown to maturity they would have had a potential street value of €112,000 when harvested.

Gda Donoghue said the “agreed valuation” of the plants for the purposes of the sentence hearing was €60,000.

Kelly was arrested and interviewed five times but “nothing came out of the interviews” Gda Donoghue confirmed.

He agreed with Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that Kelly “put his head in the sand” but eventually entered a guilty plea to the offence.

Gda Donoghue confirmed that Kelly has not come to garda attention since his arrest and said that his role in the operation was that of a supervisor.

He accepted that Kelly is a legitimate business man in the horse industry along with his father and owns a stud near the derelict farm buildings which has 35 stables.

Ms O’Callaghan asked for the case to be adjourned pending the preparation of a probation report. She will address Judge Melanie Greally on the next date in relation to Kelly’s plea in mitigation.

Judge Greally remanded Kelly in custody and adjourned the case to October 19.

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