Soldier said he got cannabis to ease pain of dying wife

Widowed father-of-two initially told gardaí he was moving drugs to pay debt of €40,000

Cpl Damian Flood, with an address at Scribblestown Avenue, Finglas, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis herb for sale or supply. He apologised to the court, saying he was “embarrassed” even to be there. “It was a moment of madness,” he said. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Cpl Damian Flood, with an address at Scribblestown Avenue, Finglas, pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis herb for sale or supply. He apologised to the court, saying he was “embarrassed” even to be there. “It was a moment of madness,” he said. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Tue, Jul 15, 2014, 19:18

A Dublin Army corporal who told gardaí he bought cannabis to ease the pain of his dying wife will be sentenced later this month.

Cpl Damian Flood (39) was caught with €9,814 worth of cannabis herb near Nutgrove in Dublin on March 15th last year.

On arrest, the widowed father-of-two initially told gardaí he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt of €40,000.

However, he later confessed to buying the drugs after online research showed him that juiced cannabis added to food could act as a pain reliever.

Flood told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that he wanted to ease the suffering of his wife, who was terminally ill with breast cancer. She died five months later, on August 26th last year.

Flood, with an address at Scribblestown Avenue, Finglas, pleaded guilty to possessing the drug for sale or supply.

He apologised to the court, saying he was “embarrassed” even to be there. “It was a moment of madness,” he said.

The court heard Flood has served 18 years with the Defence Forces, including several overseas postings, and is three years from retirement.

Det Garda Colin Tighe told Melanie Greally BL, prosecuting, that gardaí­ became suspicious when they saw a car driving erratically in the Rathfarnham area.

When they stopped the car, the driver seemed very nervous and on edge and there was a strong smell of cannabis herb.

There was a knuckle duster and a can of pepper spray in the car, which the driver said he kept for self-protection when he worked as a taxi driver.

Gardaí­ found a vacuum packed bag containing cannabis herb in a shopping bag in the car boot.

“It’s only grass, I was trying to dump it, I can’t tell you where it came from,” said Flood.

Lorcan Staines BL, defending, said Flood has no previous convictions, co-operated with gardaí­ and was genuinely remorseful.

Flood said he initially lied to gardaí­ that he was moving the drugs to pay off a debt because he did not want to implicate his dying wife in his arrest.

He said that after doing some research online, he made a few calls and got a parcel delivered.

When the parcel arrived it seemed to be worth about €5,000, whereas he only wanted to spend up to €500.

Flood told the dealer he could not afford it and said he was in the process of returning the parcel when he was arrested.

Gardaí­ found a yellow post-it in Flood’s house with a Rathfarnham address on it, near to where he was stopped.

A probation report said Flood is at low risk of reoffending.

Mr Staines said Flood needed a further three years in the Army to avail of a pension, and that the outcome of the case could have serious financial consequences for him.

If Flood gets a prison sentence he will be discharged immediately from the Army. If he gets a suspended sentence it will be up to the General Army Commander to decide, but it is “likely” he will be discharged, counsel said.

Mr Staines asked the court to impose a fine below €381, which would not affect Flood’s military conduct.

Judge Mary Ellen Ring remanded Flood on continuing bail for sentencing later in July.