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Judge tells man with cannabis studies link long term use to ‘criminality and mental dysfunction’

Imposing a suspended jail term he said: 'Possession of cannabis, despite what some people would like it to be, is still an offence'

A man has been given a suspended sentence by a deputy district judge in order to “help” overcome his drugs problem.

He told the 24-year-old: “Possession of cannabis, despite what some people would like it to be, is still an offence.”

Arturas Pikturna, of Harford Street, Portadown pleaded guilty to possession of a Class B drug at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Court heard that on February 3,  the defendant was stopped in a silver Volvo on Churchill Park, Portadown.

Officers detected a smell of cannabis and elected to search Pikturna.

During this, the defendant handed police a bag of cannabis and a bar of cannabis resin.

Court heard that this all together was around 9g and was worth about £40.

Defence solicitor Philip Reid stated: “He has one relevant entry on his record from last year which resulted in a fine.

“This is a Lithuanian man who has lived in Northern Ireland for six years.”

He added: “He was forthright with police, says it was personal use and this is really something he will have to address in future.”

Deputy District Judge Philip Mateer stated: “I’ll help with that, on October 17 for a similar offence you were given a fine of £200, which is a lot of money for anyone.

“But that did not stop you because here we are again.”

He said: “Possession of cannabis, despite what some people would like it to be, is still an offence.

“Studies have linked it to criminality and mental dysfunction in long term use, your solicitor says this is something you must overcome well I am going to help you.”

Pikturna was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for 12 months.

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