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Man with cannabis plants growing in garden claimed he planned making oil to treat pain in knee

'This is not the sort of behaviour that is acceptable'

A Lurgan man who was caught growing three cannabis plants in his garden has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Court heard the 57-year-old claimed the drugs were to be made into oil which he used to deal with pains he suffered in his knee.

Raymond Francis Toman, of Desmond Avenue, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis and two counts of possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Court heard that on September 7, police on patrol noted detected a strong smell of cannabis coming from an address on Desmond Avenue, Lurgan.

Officers observed three cannabis plants growing in the garden of the property.

Access was gained into the address and a grow house, which was later dismantled, was located in a garage.

During a search of the property, officers found cannabis seeds, dried herbal cannabis, grinders and cannabis resin.

The defendant, the owner of the address, was later interviewed.

Toman told police he had been growing the drug to make cannabis oil for his own personal medicinal use.

Defence counsel commented that this was not a “fully thought out operation” as the plants had been growing in the defendant’s garden.

He said Toman had suffered from a knee complaint for a number of years which had seen him without work since 2006.

Defence counsel stated that Toman had no previous record for drugs offences or for cultivating cannabis and that he consented to any probation order, apart from that involving community service.

District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “These are serious offences. It never ceases to amaze me that you, a family man, one up for father of the year I imagine, is prepared to take his two children into a house where cannabis is grown.

“Not only that but also the fact that you are prepared to hide behind them when placed in this situation.”

She stated: “This is not the sort of behaviour that is acceptable.

“I don’t see the point in a probation order. I feel that this case would have been perfect for community service but you have not consented to it.”

Toman was sentenced to two months in prison suspended for 12 months and the destruction of drug paraphernalia was ordered, including items used for the cultivation of the cannabis.

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