Court rejects human trafficking claim by cannabis growhouse accused

A Chinese man arrested in a cannabis growhouse in Dublin will stand trial on drug charges after the High Court ruled that he is not a victim of human trafficking.

The 36-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed he was brought here against his will to pay off a family debt.

Under EU Law, member states cannot punish victims of human trafficking if they are forced to carry out crimes as a result of being trafficked .

The accused man has been in custody since he was found during a Garda raid at a growhouse in Henrietta Place on Dublin's northside in November 2012.

He claims he was brought to Ireland against his will to pay off a family debt and his legal team argued he should not be prosecuted as a result.

However, the High Court ruled against him because of a lack of evidence supporting his claim.

In reaching a decision, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan also pointed to some photos taken on his iPhone that showed him at complete liberty following his arrival.

The pictures were taken at various tourist attractions and one showed him with his arm around a Garda on the day of Queen Elizabeth's visit to Dublin.

Today's judgement means the accused cannot avail of the protections of the EU Directive and he has been further remanded in custody ahead of his trial.

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