Former managing director of a local chip company was sacked after being caught growing cannabis for “medicinal purposes”

A former chip company executive who was caught growing 39 cannabis plants without a license “essentially for medicinal purposes” was fired from the case after fulfilling the judge’s terms.

nthony Keogh (64), farmer and former director of Keogh’s Crisps, grew the plants worth 7,800 euros in his greenhouse.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that he grew the plants “out of a certain amount of curiosity about them and about the medicinal effects of cannabis”.

The court heard that this was “just a horticultural experiment”.

Keogh, of Newtown Lane, Oldtown, Co. Dublin, pleaded guilty to his address on July 9, 2020 of illegally possessing cannabis and growing cannabis plants without a license. He has no criminal record.

On the final day of the verdict in July, Judge Melanie Greally said this was “an unusual case as he grew the plants in question out of a certain amount of curiosity about them and about the medicinal benefits of cannabis”.

Judge Greally said this was a very serious error of assessment on his behalf. She said the rating was based on the plants reaching full maturity, which can never be guaranteed.

She said last July that she had proposed an eight-month prison sentence, but that she would postpone the sentence until last Monday. She said that if certain conditions were met, Keogh would be promptly dismissed from charges under Section 100 of the Criminal Justice Act 2006.

Judge Greally said she would ask Keogh to bond to keep the peace and be decent for the adjourned time and to make a contribution of € 200 to the Father Peter McVerry Trust.

On Monday, she found that the conditions were met and Keogh had not noticed. She released Keogh from the indictment.

In July, Garda Olan Keating informed Prosecutor Garrett McCormack BL that Gardaí had issued a search warrant on the date in question after learning of an alleged cannabis grow house.

Gda Keating said Gardaí discovered 39 cannabis plants in a greenhouse at the address. The systems had a total value of € 7,800.

Keogh arrived at the address during the search, claimed to be in charge of the property and admitted to sowing the seeds. The garda said Keogh was not on gardaí’s radar and has not seen her since.

Gda Keating agreed with Oisin Clarke BL, defending that none of the plants were mature and the vast majority were seedlings. He agreed that there was no concern that the plants would ever get into the drug cycle.

The garda agreed with the council that Keogh stated that he was growing them “essentially for medicinal purposes,” and he wanted to see if he could use them for medicine. He agreed that this was “just a garden experiment”.

He agreed that a number of other legal and medicinal plants would be grown in addition to cannabis. He agreed that Keogh accepted that he did not have a license to grow the cannabis plants and that he thought that “just a few plants would be fine”.

The Garda agreed with the attorney that he would have no problem with Keogh leaving the court without conviction.

Mr Clarke said this was “a very unusual set-up” and asked the court to “go further” than simply not imposing a prison sentence in this case.

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