Man evicted tenants for growing cannabis, then set up own grow house, court told

Man offered €5,000 to begin grow-house operation, court told

The man had burned 33 cannabis plants which he discovered his tenants growing.  File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

The man had burned 33 cannabis plants which he discovered his tenants growing. File photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times

 

A man 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 gardaí had uncovered a sophisticated cannabis grow house with lights and a watering system set up in a shipping container in the back yard of Sheahan’s house.

They discovered 23 mature cannabis plants with a street value of €18,400 in the container, and 253g of cannabis herb with a street value of €5,066, giving a total value for the seizure of €23,466.

Sheahan made full admissions when interviewed by gardaí. He took responsibility for the grow house, 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, only to discover that the tenants had set up a grow-house operation in the container. He evicted them and burned the 33 plants 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 gardaí that the crop seized by gardaí 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 gardaí and had made full admissions about his wrongdoing.

Judge Sean O Donnabhain 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.

On Tuesday 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 its entirety, the Judge said: “He may have learned his lesson.”