A man who was caught with more than €13,000 of cannabis at his home was selling it to pay for his elderly father’s nursing home costs.
Gardai raided the home of Nicholas Browne at Tirconail Street in Donegal Town on June 27th, 2019.
They found cannabis in his sitting room, four bars of cannabis hidden in his bedroom as well as deal bags, weighing scales and tin foil.
When they searched his attic they found a large bag of cannabis hidden in the attic space.
The father-of-six, who is an upholsterer, admitted to Gardai that he was getting “a few bits of grass and solids ready for the weekend.”
Browne appeared at Donegal Circuit Court where he pleaded guilty to having the cannabis for sale and supply.
The 58-year-old admitted to Gardai that he had been selling the drugs from a shed at the back of his home.
When quizzed why he needed the money he said he was paying for his father’s nursing home costs.
Browne admitted that €1,520 in cash found in a wallet on his kitchen table came from the sale of drugs.
Garda Conor Doherty said Browne was arrested on July 4th and was very cooperative in custody and had not come to Garda attention since.
He added: “I think he has changed his ways – like to think he has seen the light.”
The court heard that Browne has previous convictions under the Misuse of Drugs Act but all are for using cannabis and not dealing in it.
His barrister, Peter Nolan instructed by solicitor Rory O’Brien, said that Browne’s father had since unfortunately passed away but that he was paying €600 a month towards his father’s nursing home bills as well as providing for six children.
He said he was a good father and that all his children had been brought up very well with a good education.
Mr Nolan said the accused had told him that this was a turning point saying “I left the world I was in and I’m in the real world now.”
He asked Judge John Aylmer to consider that his client has pleaded guilty suggesting “mercy tempered with justice will meet the case.’
However, Judge John Aylmer said this was a large amount of drugs in excess of €13,000 and one before mitigation could merit a starting custodial sentence of four years in prison.
He said that if Browne continued to use cannabis then his options were limited.
Barrister Peter Nolan said he would impress this upon his client saying that urine and blood samples could be an option going forward saying “I will refocus his mind.”
Judge Aylmer adjourned the case until April 20th.