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The man grew cannabis to pay his bills, the court hears

Declan Brennan

An unemployed man caught growing cannabis plants at home told gardaí he would grow them to get money to pay bills, a court heard.

Mark Hyde, 42, of Kippure Park, Finglas, Dublin pleaded guilty to the possession for sale or delivery of cannabis at his home on February 4, 2020.

Prosecutor Rónán Prendargast BL, told the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that gardaí went to the house that day with a search warrant and found 15 seed trays, each with a cannabis seed, in a lawn.

They also found plants growing in two tents, and Hyde told Gardaí that all of the plants were his and that he had forced his partner to go with them.

He showed them four large Tupperware cups with cannabis leaves. This was later estimated at a street value of just under 7,000 euros.

Hyde told them that the smaller of the two tents was used to germinate the seeds and that once the plants were larger, he would move them to the larger tent.

He admitted that he intended to harvest all of the plants and sell the cannabis leaf to a number of friends. He said he was doing this to get money to pay bills and said he was having financial problems.

Criminal record

The court heard that Hyde had a criminal record of growing cannabis in the Mullingar District Court on December 3, 2012. For this he received a suspended sentence of three years.

When the verdict was announced in 2014, he was also sentenced to community service for an offense of forgery.

Defense attorney Simon Matthews BL told the court that his client was not a major drug wholesaler but was supplying about three friends. He did this to pay the bills, and a Garda witness agreed with the attorney that Hyde had no fortune.

Mr. Matthews said his client was involved in a community employment program and was receiving rent subsidies. He said he was aware that he could lose his home as a result of these convictions.

Judge Melanie Greally postponed the verdict until next February. She ordered Hyde to contact the probation service in the hopes that he could “learn the skills to avoid growing drugs when faced with distress or financial difficulties.”

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