Police officer on bicycle sniffs out cannabis offence in Ballymena town centre

Ballymena Court

A POLICE officer patrolling Ballymena town centre on a bicycle sniffed out a man smoking a cannabis ‘joint’ in a vehicle.

Jonathan Fry (27), with an address listed as Ballybeg Road near Ahoghill, was at Wellington Street on December 20 last year when police swooped.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court an officer on cycle patrol detected a strong smell of cannabis emanating from a vehicle and the passenger was found smoking a ‘joint’.

A defence solicitor said it was at the lower end of the scale but the defendant had a previous conviction.

The lawyer said the defendant suffered from “anxiety issues” and had “resorted to the personal use of cannabis”.

Despite an address being listed on the charge sheet, the solicitor said the defendant was “homeless”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said he couldn’t keep giving fines if people return to court for drugs offences.

He said the lack of an address meant the defendant could not get Probation or Community Service due to contact difficulties and instead Fry, whose address had been previously listed as Kilmakevit Crescent in Cullybackey, was given a one month jail term, suspended for a year.

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