A Newry man who locked who himself out of his house was found in possession up to £9,000 worth of cannabis after neighbours were concerned his home was being burgled.
Defence counsel said the 28-year-old’s detection was “serendipitous”, especially given that he had no record at the time of the offence.
Ryan Patrick McGivern, 28, of High Street, appeared charged with possession of class B with intent to supply and concerned in the supply of class B at Newry Crown Court on Thursday.
It was heard on February 4 of last year police were tasked to a suspected burglary at a house on High Street, Newry.
They attended the address and spoke to the defendant who was in the property.
Officers noted a strong smell of cannabis and opted to search the property.
In the bedroom of the house police found 478 grams of flowering bud cannabis with a street value between £10 to £20 a gram, totalling at between £4,680 to £9,360.
Officers also located a phone and weighing scales at the property.
During interview, McGivern said he had locked himself out of his house and had broken in.
When asked about what was found he stated it was “a load of cannabis and scales”.
He told police he had paid £2,500 for the drugs and admitted to owing money to drug dealers.
It was heard that analysis of the seized phone showed eight message exchanges of suspected drug dealing between June 15 and July 1 of 2016.
When asked about these messages McGivern denied ownership of the phone, despite previously stating it belonged to him.
He was also questioned in detail about specific texts but refused to comment.
It was heard that at the time the defendant had no record but had three convictions for drug-related charges which postdate this offence.
Court also heard that throughout investigation McGivern claimed that he had been a middleman.
Defence counsel commented this had not been a “planned search” and that the detection was “serendipitous”, especially for a man at the time with no record.
Since this offence defence counsel claimed that the defendant had “turned his life around”.
He explained shortly after detection McGivern met his partner, to whom he now had a week-old baby, which had a positive effect on him.
It was heard McGivern had stopped taken drugs and was now employed in the electrician trade working night shifts.
Defence counsel joked that the defendant was not getting much sleep these days, adding that McGivern was “determined to stay on the straight and narrow”.
His Honour Judge Gordon Kerr stated: “Supply with intent charges are likely to end in the outcome of immediate custody”.
But he added: “I take the view that the facts don’t show this to be a considerable commercial enterprise”.
Judge Kerr stated McGivern helped his case by “giving a frank and honest account”, along with showing “determination to continue with a different course”.
He continued: “The lifestyle changes you have made including your new partner and young baby, along with your employment, do compel me”.
McGivern was sentenced to 30 months in prison suspended for two years, with Judge Kerr saying it was in order to make sure he continued not to take drugs.