Fisherman detained for knife possession and drug dealing

Ten months detention was imposed on a young fisherman who was found in possession of a hunting knife and who was caught with weighing scales and drugs.

The Galway District Court heard last Monday how the 20-year-old, who had no previous convictions and no history of drug dealing, had been on his way to sell cannabis resin to a friend when he was stopped by gardai and found in possession of the drug and weighing scales. Ross Cloherty with an address at 252 Castlepark, Ballybane, was also charged with possession of a knife.

Inspector Sean Glynn told the court that on August 1, 2008, at 7.30pm the defendant was observed in Eyre Square lying on grass and holding a knife in his hand. When gardai came closer Cloherty placed the white hunting knife in his pocket. When questioned Cloherty admitted owning the knife but he failed to account for why he had it with him.

Defence solicitor Valerie Corcoran said that Cloherty had been fishing in Oughterard earlier that day and had been using the knife for that purpose. She added that there was no malice intent involved.

On another occasion Cloherty had been the passenger in a car which had been stopped by gardai. A search was conducted during which weighing scales and cannabis resin was found. Cloherty admitted that he had intended to sell two to three grams of the cannabis resin, €40 worth, to a friend and keep the rest for himself. The court heard that the drugs and the weighing scales had a total value of €300. Ms Corcoran said that her client, who suffers from substance abuse difficulties, had been fully compliant with gardai. Cloherty had just got the drugs when a friend phoned him and he agreed to sell some. Ms Corcoran added that there was no evidence that the defendant was in the habit of “selling to random individuals”.

Possession of a hunting knife in Eyre Square is “totally unacceptable” said Judge Mary Fahy, who added that being in possession of weighing scales does not mean the defendant was just “messing with drugs”. “This is the beginning of what was for him a short career,” she said before imposing 10 months detention. An appeal was later lodged.

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