Man jailed for growing cannabis plants in order to pay billsGary Ibbotson 11 Mar 2022
By Declan Brennan and Fiona Ferguson
An out-of-work man caught growing cannabis plants at home to get money to pay the bills has been jailed.
Mark Hyde (42) of Kippure Park, Finglas, Dublin pleaded guilty to possession for sale or supply of cannabis at his home on February 4, 2020.
Rónán Prendargast BL, prosecuting, told Dublin Circuit Criminal Court that gardaí went to the house on that date with a search warrant and found 15 seed trays with one cannabis seed in a soil sod in each.
They also found plants growing in two tents and Hyde told gardaí that all the plants were his and that he had forced his partner to go along with it.
He showed them four large Tupperware tubs of cannabis leaf.
This was later estimated to have a street value of just under €7,000.
Hyde told them that the smaller of two tents was used to germinate the seeds and that once the plants were bigger he moved them into the larger tent.
He admitted that he intended to harvest all the plants and sell the cannabis leaf to a number of friends.
He said he was doing this to get money to pay bills and said he was struggling financially.
The court heard that Hyde has a previous conviction from Mullingar Circuit Court for cultivation of cannabis on December 3, 2012.
He received a suspended prison sentence of three years for this.
At that sentence hearing in 2014, he was also ordered to carry out community service for an offence of forgery.
Defence counsel, Simon Matthews BL, told the court that his client was not running a large wholesale drug dealing operation, but was supplying to around three friends.
He was doing this to pay the bills and a garda witness agreed with counsel that Hyde did not have any trappings of wealth.
Mr Matthews said his client was involved in a community employment scheme and receiving rent allowance.
He said he is aware he could lose his home as a result of these convictions.
Judge Melanie Greally noted he was supplementing his household income as he had difficulty paying bills but noted he has a similar prior conviction.
He is at moderate risk of reoffending.
She imposed a sentence of 32 months and suspended the final 16 months on conditions including 12 months probation supervision.
She previously ordered Hyde to engage with the Probation Service in the hope that he may learn “the skills to avoid cultivating drugs when he encounters hardship or financial difficulties”.