Front window blown out by man attempting to obtain more potent cannabis

Court told man (31) was burnt and disfigured in explosion at terraced house

The defendant is charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis with intent to supply, as well as having a quantity of MDMA with intent to supply. File photograph: iStock

The defendant is charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis with intent to supply, as well as having a quantity of MDMA with intent to supply. File photograph: iStock

 

A man burnt and disfigured by an explosion at his east Belfast home was attempting a chemical process to obtain a more potent form of cannabis, a court has heard.

David Osbourne (31), is accused of growing 30 plants allegedly found at the Bloomfield Road property along with guns, knives and a crossbow.

During a bail application at the Belfast High Court the judge was told a front window on the terraced house was blown out by the blast on May 15th.

Mark Farrell, for the defendant, said he had been using butane gas in a bid to extract concentrated cannabis oil.

In a reference to the hit television crime drama, he added: “This is not a Breaking Bad-type scenario. The applicant hadn’t a clue what he was doing and the whole thing backfired on him.

“It’s a mark of how amateurish and stupid his behaviour was that he ended up with second degree burns on both arms... and third degree burns to his face.”

The defendant is charged with cultivating and possessing cannabis with intent to supply, as well as having a quantity of MDMA with intent to supply.

He faces another five counts of possessing a firearm or imitation firearm, and a further allegation of having a prohibited weapon.

Prosecutor Iryna Kennedy claimed police called to the scene of the explosion found evidence of a drugs-production factory.

She said a 9mm pistol wrapped in packaging was discovered in a freezer, while two BB-type guns, an air rifle, starter pistol and Taser were also located.

The defendant’s legal team argued the alleged weapons consisted of imitation and airsoft guns designed to fire target practice pellets.

During exchanges Mr Justice McAlinden described the accused’s mental health problems, alleged drugs activity and apparent fixation with weaponry as “an explosive mixture, literally and metaphorically”.

He said: “It looks as if he was intent on defending his little factory. This is a genuinely worrying case.”

Adjourning the bail application, the judge requested an expert opinion on whether Mr Osbourne’s underlying conditions can be dealt with outside custody. “Without some form of medical evidence to indicate the risks could be managed in the community I cannot take that risk.”