A POLISH man who admitted growing cannabis plants worth up to €24,000 at his apartment in Newcastle West “learned the process” on the internet, a court has heard.
Lukasz Skublicki, aged 30, who has an address at Upper Maiden Street, Newcastle West avoided a prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to cultivating the plants, which were discovered on September 6, 2012.
Sergeant John Lynch said gardai conducted a search of the upstairs apartment at around 3.30pm after the landlord became suspicious due to the presence of a strong smell emanating from the apartment.
Limerick Circuit Court was told gardai discovered 30 cannabis plants, which were being grown in two bedrooms of the premises.
Sgt Lynch told Michael Collins BL, prosecuting, that “extensive lighting, ventilation and irrigation equipment” was also found during the search and that the plants were at an advanced stage of growth but were not fully matured.
The defendant was detained and interviewed by gardai later that day and made “full and open admissions” while in custody.
John O’Sullivan BL, defending, described the offence as a “DIY job” and he said his client had “acquired information on the the internet as to the the process”. He added that cannabis seeds can be bought lawfully in the form of bird seed.
The court was told that gardai accepted Mr Skublicki was not operating a commercial enterprise and that he had intended using the drugs himself and sharing them with his friends.
The defendant, who has been living in Ireland for more than a decade, was working at the AIBP meat plant in Rathkeale at the time of the offence but lost his job when details of the offence first emerged.
He has been unable to claim social welfare since as gardai took possession of his identity credentials following his arrest.
In mitigation, Mr O’Sullivan said his client, who has no previous convictions, had been stupid and had not thought about the consequences of his actions.
He said it was out of character for him and it was accepted by Sgt Lynch that Mr Skublicki did not think there would be so many cannabis plants.
Judge Carroll Moran was told that Detective Sergeant Alan Cullen of the divisional drugs squad was contacted following the seizure of the cannabis plants and that he estimated they had a potential value of €24,000.
However, as the plants had not matured when gardai searched the apartment, they were worthless on the date of the offence.
After considering the matter, Judge Caroll Moran said the realistic value of the drugs was around €8,000 and he said he did not believe a custodial sentence was appriate give the mitigating factors in the case.
He imposed a two year prison sentence, which he suspended for three years.