A carpenter who evicted tenants from his property after he found out that they had set up a cannabis grow house only to then take over the operation himself has received a two-year suspended sentence.
John Sheahan (48) pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possessing cannabis for sale or supply and to cultivating cannabis without a licence at his home at Ardglass, Charleville, Co Cork on October 23rd, 2019.
Det Garda Will Hosford said that investigating gardai had uncovered a sophisticated cannabis growhouse with lights and a watering system set up in a shipping container in the backyard of Mr Sheehan’s house.
They discovered 23 mature cannabis plants with a street value of €18,400 in the container. They also found 253 grammes of cannabis herb with a street value of €5,066, giving a total value for the seizure of €23,466.
Mr Sheahan made full admissions when interviewed by gardai. He took responsibility for the growhouse, which was set up in three separate rooms in the container with the third room containing the mature plants.
Det Garda Hosford said that Sheahan told them that he had rented out the house to Polish tenants only to discover that they had set up a growhouse operation in the container. He evicted his tenants and burned the 33 plants that they had cultivated.
However, some time after this he was approached by a man who offered him €5,000 to resume the growing operation and produce a crop.
As he was under financial pressure at the time he accepted the offer and began growing another crop of plants.
Sheahan told gardai that the crop seized by gardai was his second harvest and that he had already made €5,000 from his first crop.
Defence counsel Alice Fawsitt SC said that her client had co-operated fully with gardai and had made full admissions about his wrongdoing.
Judge Sean Ó Donnabháin said the fact that Sheahan had evicted his tenants for growing cannabis only to go into the business himself was perplexing.
"Was it the way he objected to Foreign Direct Investment? He throws out the developer and then takes over the business himself."
The judge said that the court could not permit Sheahan to make a €5,000 profit from his first crop. He ordered Mr Sheahan to pay compensation of that amount.
Today the court was told that Sheahan had paid the €5,000 compensation. It was agreed that it would be donated to Tabor Lodge, a Cork based addiction counselling centre.
In sentencing Sheahan to two years in jail which he suspended in it’s entirety the Judge said “He may have learned his lesson”.