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Man caught with cannabis says it was a ‘one-off’ to celebrate birth of child

A man found with cannabis shortly after becoming a father has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

A judge told the 25-year-old that she refused to believe that this was a “one-off” as he was caught with a grinder.

Aaron Sands, of Jubilee Court, Dromore pleaded guilty to possession of class B at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday.

It was heard that on May 13 police on patrol on Pound Hill, Dromore, passed the defendant and detected a strong smell of cannabis.

Sands was informed he would be searched and provided officers with a grinder and a small deal bag.

Court heard it was found that there was approximately half a gram of cannabis found.

The defendant was cautioned and made full admissions to the offence.

Defence barrister Conor Lunny stated: “There are two striking factors in this case; one the defendant’s record and two he became a father shortly before this offence”.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “Of course, you have to be doing cannabis as the father of a newly born child, can I ask if the mother is taking cannabis”.

She added: “Why is it that people keep playing up to stereotypes”.

The judge continued that in his pre-sentence report the defendant alleged a friend had used the grinder, but she disagreed with this saying he would not have smelt of the drug then.

Mr Lunny said that Sands had been given his first chance at community service in 2013 by Newry Court but asked the judge to consider a similar order.

He said this offence was a “one-off” in celebrating the birth of the defendant’s first child.

The solicitor added that “family is the most important thing” in Sands’ life.

Judge Kelly stated: “If this was a genuine one-off why would you have a grinder with you”.

She added: “You show an incredulous naivety about this area of your life”.

Judge Kelly finished by saying: “It is time for you to make some decisions, you need to stand up and pretend to be a father or your son will not have one”.

Sands was sentenced to two months in prison suspended for two years.

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