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Judge tells drug addict she would take children off him if she had the power

A Lurgan man who was caught four times in possession of cannabis has been told by a district judge that if he wishes to take the drug there are other countries he can go to.

The 25-year-old was also told that if the judge had the power she would take his children off him.

Simon Sloan, of Balmoral Drive, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that the defendant was stopped driving on Union Street, Lurgan, on June 15 at around midday.

A search was conducted of his vehicle during which a small amount of herbal cannabis was found, with a value of no more than £5.

When interviewed at a police station Sloan made full admissions stating that the drugs had been for his own personal use.

Defence counsel stated: “Normally this would result in a fine but this was the fourth in a series of offences and is all set in the background of addiction.”

It was heard that the defendant had, since this offence, been given a referral by his GP to get help and was now in full-time employment.

“We ask that your worship bears in mind that Mr Sloan has pleaded guilty and wishes to put this behind him,” added defence counsel.

District Judge Bernie Kelly pointed out that in the pre-sentence report the defendant had claimed that this offending had brought him and his partner closer together.

She stated: “I hope that is the case because social services are going to take those children off her.

Sloan told the judge: “I have stopped using drugs if you read the pre-sentence report.”

District Judge Kelly replied: “I can see where we are going here, the report states Mr Sloan has not accepted the risks of his drugs use to his health, his family or his employment.”

Probation, it was stated, had ranked the defendant as having a likelihood of reoffending in the next two years.

District Judge Kelly quoted the report in which Sloan admitted to no longer smoking in the car but instead in the garden.

She informed the court that the defendant had claimed his partner was “okay” with his taking cannabis.

The judge told Sloan: “You cannot consume cannabis where there are children. If I had the power to I would take those children off you.

“They need protecting from you.”

She added: “All drugs that are not prescribed to you by a doctor are illegal in this country. There are places where they are legal and if you so wish you can go and live there.”

Sloan was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years.

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