Man who admitted finding drug package denies he bought them


A MAN on trial for possession of cannabis resin with intent to supply told Dundalk Circuit Criminal Court yesterday that he found the drugs in a box in a shed at the rear of the Monasterboice Inn. Mr Vincent Donegan, of Monasterboice, has denied possessing 154 slabs of a brown substance on Sunday May 28th, 1995.

The court heard details of an interview the defendant gave to investigating gardai on May 30th 1995. He had gone to the Garda station after he heard gardai wanted to talk to him. He was arrested under the Misuse of Drugs Act by Garda John Yorke.

In the memo of the interview, which took place after the defendant had been cautioned, Mr Donegan said that he had found the drugs in a shed behind the Monasterboice Inn on the previous Wednesday. They had been left in a shed at the back of the inn and were in a box.

Asked why he had moved the drugs, the defendant replied that he didn't want them there (in the shed) and had moved them to undergrowth down a lane. Asked if he had had the money to buy the drugs, he said he did not have money "for that kind of stuff". He had "positively, absolutely not bought them". He recognised that what was in the bag was a massive amount of drugs. He also told gardai he had panicked on the Saturday night and did not know what to do.

At the conclusion of the interview the defendant had declined to sign the memo of it.

Dr Daniel O'Driscoll, from the Forensic Science Laboratory in Garda Headquarters, said that on May 30th 1995 he had received two brown paper bags. In the first was a black bag containing 55 bars of a brown substance. The bars weighed 13.5159kg. He had analysed 20 of the bars and found each to be cannabis resin.

The second bag contained 99 bars of a brown substance which weighed 24.3178kg. He had analysed 30 of these bars and found each to be cannabis resin. The 154 bars weighed a total of 37.833kg.

Dr O'Driscoll said that the average amount of cannabis in a cigarette was .103 grammes. It would be possible to make 367,317 such cigarettes from 37.8337kg of cannabis resin.

Mr Michael O'Higgins, defending, asked Garda Brian Morrissey, of Drogheda, whether the driver of a car stopped by gardai on May 28th had ever been charged in the case. The garda replied that the man had not been charged and said that he was not in a position to explain this to the jury.

The trial, before Judge Patrick Smith, resumes this morning.