THE solicitors for the two Polish nationals charged in connection with the cultivation and possession of a large amount of cannabis plants and cannabis seized last February have called on District Court judge Mary Larkin to dismiss the cases against them because of the failure of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to give a direction on the matter within a reasonable time.
The men were charged last February following the seizure of plants and cannabis at three separate locations in West Limerick and adjourned a number of times since.
Grzegorz Jacniak, Market Court, Newcastle West, was charged with two counts of cultivation of cannabis plants or opium poppy and one of possession of drugs for the purpose of sale or supply.
He was remanded with consent to bail on his own bond of € 5,000 and an independent surety of €60,000 half of which was to be lodged. This was later reduced in the High Court but Mr Jacniak was unable to take up bail and has remained in custody.
The second accused, Arthur Pietrzuak, Westend, Mountcollins, was charged on one count of cultivation of cannabis plants and was refused bail in the District Court but was granted consent to bail in the High Court,
Pointing out that his client, Mr Jacniak had now been held in custody for over five months, solicitor Michael O’Donnell said the case had been marked peremptory on the last day in court.
“For Mr Judge (state solicitor, Aidan) to come in now asking for more time is grossly unfair to Mr Jacniak.”
Ted McCarthy, solicitor, agreed, pointing out that the state had strenuously objected to bail and had been refused to his client.
The state had subsequently objected to bail at the High Court but Mr Pietrzuak was in the fortunate position to take up bail but with some limits on his liberty. As a result he argued, his client was prejudiced, but Mr O’Donnell’s client was “even more prejudiced”.
With the end of July in sight and the summer vacation in August, it could be September before the DPP gave a direction, Mr McCarthy said and that was “wholly unreasonable”. He asked for the matter to be struck out without prejudice to the State. It was open to the State to re-instate the charges or put fresh charges, he said.
But Mr Judge argued that five months was not an excessively long time. It was a complicated case, he said.
“Five months might be reasonable in DPP land but it is unreasonable in light of the fact somebody is in custody,” Mr McCarthy said.
But Judge Mary Larkin ruled that the matters had been dealt with expeditiously and she accepted Mr Judge’s undertaking to have directions within the next two to three weeks. She was not prepared to mark it peremptory against the state, she told Mr O’Donnell.
The matter comes before her again, for mention, on July 28.