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Man ‘sucked’ into cannabis addiction after ‘traumatic early life incidents’ fined £500

Defence said: 'This man has a substantial record, 41 prior convictions, but nothing of this nature'

Craigavon Courthouse

A man who was caught with cannabis in Lurgan has been fined £500.

The 47-year-old’s legal representative claimed the defendant had been “sucked” into addiction after “traumatic incidents in his early life”.

John Beard, of Strule Park, in Omagh, pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

It was heard that on May 30, at around 1pm, police stopped the defendant travelling in a Toyota Avensis on the Portadown Road, Lurgan.

Officers observed what they suspected to be particles of cannabis and a strong smell of the drug in the car.

A search conducted of the vehicle proved negative but Beard informed police there was a bag of the substance in the glove box, which was found to be worth around £150.

The defendant was cautioned but made no reply to this.

During a notebook interview, Beard cooperated with police, admitting that the cannabis was his.

Defence counsel stated: “This man has a substantial record – 41 prior convictions but nothing of this nature.

“He instructs that he has had a longstanding addiction to cannabis which he was sucked into because of some very traumatic incidents in his early life.”

He alleged that his client had been abused, adding that he also had “a problem with stomach cancer a few years ago”.

“These experiences in his childhood have blighted his life ever since,” said defence.

District Judge Bernie Kelly stated: “Mr Beard, I can take your car, disqualify you from driving and send you to prison.

“You are going to have to stop this behaviour. If I see you again that is what I am going to do.”

Beard was ordered to pay a fine of £500, along with the offender’s levy of £15, within 12 weeks.

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