Defendant thought he was picking up cannabis from the ground, court hears

Defendant thought he was picking up cannabis from the ground, court hears

The case was heard at Craigavon Magistrates' Court.

Staff Reporter

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Monday 4 July 2022 14:00

A defendant, who picked up a drug off the ground thinking it was cannabis when in fact it was heroin, has been issued with community service.

The case of John Joseph Mulholland, (32), of Drumellan Mews, Craigavon, was heard at Craigavon Courthouse sitting on Thursday, June 29.

The court heard that on February 26 this year, police were tasked to a report by a member of the public who observed a male had entered the public toilet on William Street, Portadown, and believed the male was taking drugs as they could hear tin foil rustling and a lighter being used.

Officers attended and they noticed a distinct smell indicating something had been burnt, with no other persons being present at the toilets at that time apart from the last cubicle which was locked and occupied.

The defendant exited that cubicle and police observed a small ball of aluminium foil in his hand and approximately one gram of brown powder was located in a foil wrap, suspected to be heroin.

During a notebook interview, Mulholland made admissions to possessing the drug and explained that an associate had dropped the item and he picked it up thinking it was cannabis.

Mr Logue, defending, accepted possession of the drug as he thought it was cannabis but was informed due to the law he would be deemed liable to possession regardless what type of drug it was.

It was added that Mulholland was worried that someone would think he “sink so low” to have that drug in his possession.

The defence barrister stated that his client knows his cannabis use can’t continue and he would love to do community service as it would give him some structure.

Deputy District Judge O'Hare said: “I have no reason to dispute what you say in that you picked the drug up off the ground but equally I’ve no reason to believe you thought it was cannabis.

“Picking something like that up from the ground is a recipe for disaster.”

The Judge imposed a community service order of 100 hours, as well as a destruction order for the drug.

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