Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Isabel Hayes

A man who was caught in possession of thousands of cannabis jellies has been jailed for 33 months.

The value of the cannabis jellies seized by gardaí in Dublin in August 2021 was in dispute in Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday, with gardaí estimating the drugs had a street value of €10 per jelly, with a total value of €33,000.

However, defence counsel submitted an independent drug valuation report to the court which estimated the approximately 3,000 jellies seized were only worth about €1 each.

Judge Martin Nolan ruled that gardaí may have inflated the value the drugs, while the independent evaluator probably deflated it and that the total amount was “probably something in between” the asserted figures of €33,000 and €3,000.

Kevin Shipley, a British man who was residing in Spain at the time, pleaded guilty to counts including possession of cannabis for sale or supply and handling €14,000 in cash which was the proceeds of criminal conduct at an address in Dublin on August 8th, 2021.

He has a number of previous convictions in the UK, including for drugs.

Shipley (37), of Calle Taga, Residential California, Alicante, Spain, was caught outside a premises at Bernard Curtis flat complex, Bluebell Road, after gardaí were alerted that a man had been seen acting suspiciously.

He was caught by gardaí walking towards a car, looking “panicked”, Garda Alan Murphy told the court. Inside the car, gardaí found a small quantity of cannabis and €14,000 in cash.

When they searched the premises, they found cannabis jellies and paraphernalia used to cook them. The jellies contained cannabis oil, the court heard. Small quantities of cannabis and cannabis herb were also found.

Shipley was arrested and told gardaí he had brought the cash with him from Spain, where he was working as a painter and decorator. He declined to name any other associates involved in the drug operation.

James Dwyer SC, defending, said his client suffered a back injury and used cannabis for medicinal reasons lawfully in the UK. He submitted this was an “amateurish, home-made operation” and that the value of the drugs was at issue.

Sentencing Shipley, Judge Nolan said the court did not need to decide the value of the drugs seized. He noted Shipley has been in custody since his arrest about 18 months ago.

He handed down a sentence of 33 months which he backdated to when Shipley first went into custody. The judge also ordered that the €14,000 in cash be confiscated.

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