A Pomeroy man was today (Friday) handed 240 hours community service after he was caught growing cannabis in a caravan ‘as an experiment’.
Ryan Daniel Charles Ruddy was told by a judge that he was now at a “crossroads’’ in his life - either change his drug dealing behaviour or go to prison.
The 24-year-old, of Carnenny Lane, Co Tyrone, pleaded guilty to cultivating cannabis, possesion of Class B and C drugs, and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.
Prosecution barrister Michael McAleer told Dungannon Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, that on July 4, 2015, police carried out a search of a caravan at Carnenny Lane and found “two mature cannabis plants’’ and seven siedling plants with a street value of £9,000.
A bag containing 0.68 grammes of white powder was also located and it was found to be the Class C drug Methylethylcathione (MCE).
Ruddy claimed to police that he had grown the cannabis as an “experiment’’ for his own use, adding: “I didn’t think it would work.’’
The court was told that his mobile phone found to contain five messages and police said they related to his “drug dealing activities’’.
A defence barrister said that Ruddy had been caught “red handed’’ by police who had abusing drugs since the age of 14. A report by a forensic pyschiatrist said that as result the defendant now suffered from a “drug-induced psychosis’’.
“He comes from a stable background and he accepts he has brought shame on himself and embarrassment to his family as he has now come before the criminal justice system.’’
The lawyer added that the Ruddy was the father of a one-year child and was now “moving away from the use of drugs’’ and trying to open a new chapter in his life.
Judge Stephen Fowler QC told Ruddy: “You are now at a crossroads in your life: your either continue your involvement with drugs and you will go to jail or you can change it now and take control of your life.
“I am going to give you that opportunity. I am going to impose a sentence of 240 hours community service but I must warn you that if you breach this order you will be brought back before me and that it is highly likely you will be going to jail.’’
The judge ordered the destruction of all the seized drugs.