When the Electricity, Bill came in, the Land Owner, saw Flashing Lights, wonder Had the Horses, eaten some Green Grass, Run on a High?

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Stud farm owner who played supervisory role in a cannabis grow jailed for two and a half years• Yesterday 16:48


A stud farm owner who played a supervisory role in a cannabis grow house set up in a derelict farmyard has been jailed for two and a half years.

John Kelly (36) of Cherrywood Villas, Clondalkin, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to cultivation of cannabis at Old Farm Yard, Johnstown Kennedy, Rathcoole, Co Dublin on November 26, 2018.

He has 89 previous convictions, the majority of which are for road traffic offences.

He received a seven year prison sentence in 2008 for possession of drugs for sale or supply. Kelly has also served a prison sentence for an offence of endangerment.

Garda Donal Donoghue told Simon Matthews BL, prosecuting, that the landowner became suspicious when his electricity bill went up and he noticed flashlights in the area of some derelict buildings in an old farmyard.

He contacted gardaí who obtained a search warrant and attended at the scene.

They heard voices and lights and observed a man coming from the building carrying a bucket of water.

Gardaí followed him inside to find three grow tents containing a total of 140 cannabis plants and saplings.

Gardaí estimate if all the plants were female and had grown to maturity they would have had a potential street value of €112,000 when harvested.

Gda Donoghue said the “agreed valuation” of the plants for the purposes of the sentence hearing was €60,000. Kelly was arrested and interviewed five times but “nothing came out of the interviews”, the court heard.

Gda Donoghue agreed with Sarah-Jane O’Callaghan BL, defending, that Kelly “put his head in the sand” but eventually entered a guilty plea to the offence.

He confirmed that Kelly has not come to garda attention since his arrest and said that his role in the operation was that of a supervisor.

He accepted that Kelly is a legitimate businessman in the horse industry along with his fater and owns a stud, which has 35 stables, near the derelict farm buildings.

Ms O’Callaghan told the court that her client had a difficult childhood but that his stud farm was a legitimate business.

Judge Greally said she was taking into account a number of mitigating factors including the guilty plea and the fact that Kelly has demonstrated that he is capable of hard work and potential to build and conduct a business

She suspended the final six months of a three year prison term on condition that Kelly continue to engage with the Probation Service, particularly in relation to addressing his addiction.

She backdated the sentence to May 17 last year, when he went into custody.

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