Judge hopes ‘substantial’ fine will make cannabis addict ponder his actions

A JUDGE told a man addicted to cannabis he hoped a “very substantial” £500 fine would make him think about what he is doing.

Deputy District Judge Sean O’Hare was speaking to Matthew John Craig at Coleraine Magistrates Court on Monday.

The defendant (28), of Bridge Street in Kilrea, admitted possessing cannabis.

A prosecutor said police had set up a vehicle checkpoint at Garvagh Road, Kilrea, on November 14 last year when they stopped the defendant in a van.

There was a strong smell of cannabis and the Class B drug was found in a tube under the driver’s seat.

During an interview the defendant said he was addicted to cannabis and smoked it every day.

Defence solicitor Sam Barr said the defendant had three relevant convictions.

The lawyer said the amount of drugs found on the latest occasion was small and was for his client’s own use.

Mr Barr said the defendant appreciated that at some stage he may get a sentence that isn’t suspended and he intends to take steps to try and get off the drug.

Judge O’Hare told the defendant: “You are old enough to know what you should or shouldn’t be doing”.

He said the defendant’s liberty was “very much at stake”.

Judge O’Hare said if Craig kept smoking cannabis and appeared in court he would be inviting any judge to send him “straight into custody”.

The judge said he hoped the “very substantial” fine would make the defendant ponder his actions.

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