Killarney judge deplores ‘Funky Skunk’ head-shop

Owner faces jail over sale of ‘Mad Alice’

Gardai seized 19 packets of the drug at the shop in Killarney in January last year.

Gardai seized 19 packets of the drug at the shop in Killarney in January last year.

 

A judge today lashed out at so-called head-shops, saying they were “borderline” premises and targeted the most vulnerable.

Killarney District Court Judge James O’Connor told the owner of the Funky Skunk shop on High Street, Killarney, she would have to go to jail for selling “Mad Alice”, which the court heard was a cannabis-like substance and had been put on the controlled drugs list .

Helen Stone (47) of Kilnapogue, Kealkil, Bantry, pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts in relation to possession of the unlawful substance and to having the drug for sale or supply at the Funky Skunk shop on January 30th, 2012.

Supt Fearghal Patwell told how gardaí entered the shop on information that a controlled substance was being sold. An employee handed over 19 packets of the substance “Mad Alice” with a total value of €310.

The drugs were seized and analysed and were found to be a controlled substance, said the superintendent, handing lengthy documentation in to court.

Ms Stone’s solicitor Padraig O’Connell said she had co-operated at all times with gardaí. The employee was not aware Mad Alice had become a prescribed drug, and that it should not be offered for sale.

However, “Ms Stone took full responsibility and admitted the item was on the premises and for sale.”

It had only recently been put on the controlled drugs list, at the time of the seizure, he said. “There was nothing found wanting in Ms Stone’s behaviour at any time,” Mr O’Connell said.

Inquiring as to the effects of taking Mad Alice, Judge James O’Connor was told it was “a substitute for cannabis, but not very potent”.

Legislation for the control of headshops was introduced in 2010 .

Judge O’Connor said “all these headshops” had been a major source of worry for years for the State before the leigislation was introduced. There was no need for such shops, he said.

Judge O’Connor adjourned the matter to April 16th but said “it merits two to three days” in jail. Mr O’Connell afterwards indicated he would appeal any such jail sentence.