Judge Elizabeth MacGrath: court case reminded her of GUBU
The case of a Tipperary woman charged with sale or supply of cannabis was “grotesque, unprecedented, bizarre and unbelievable, the judge hearing the case said.
“The GUBU factor comes to mind,” said Judge Elizabeth MacGrath in her judgment in the trial of Charlotte O’Sullivan of Kilmastulla, Birdhill, who denied the offence at Kilmastulla on June 9, 2020.
Ms O’Sullivan pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis valued at €1,130 on the same date.
Judge MacGrath explained that the term was coined in relation to murderer Malcolm McArthur in 1982.
Earlier, Garda Andrew Loughlin of the Divisional Drugs Unit, told the court that he had searched Ms O’Sullivan’s home on June 9 on foot of a search warrant.
She was not at home but her father agreed to the search, during which Garda Loughlin found one large deal of cannabis in a single pouch and two smaller deals in a box under the bed.
He also found a weighing scales and a large of quantity of what he described as deal bags.
Ms O’Sullivan later came to Nenagh Garda station by arrangement and made no reply to the charge after she was arrested.
Garda Loughlin read out a memo of interview he took with Ms O’Sullivan in which she stated that she had been “stupid”, and left the cannabis in her bedroom as her dad had no sense of smell.
She said she only used small amounts of the drug in order to ration it out. She had paid €650 for it in March 2020.
She said she had never planned selling the drug and that she had been under pressure to buy a large quantity of the drug and to take the weighing scales by the persons who gave it to her.
“It was only for myself. I never gave it to my friends,” she said in the memo.
Ms O’Sullivan had told the garda that she couldn’t give him the name of the person as she had been told “everyone would be killed and the house burned down. I wish I could tell you who it was but I would be murdered.”
She said that she only used the drug when she was “down”.
Garda Loughlin said it was estimated that if Ms O’Sullivan smoked cannabis the way she said she did, it would take her five years to use it up.
In her direct evidence, Ms O’Sullivan said that she had been using cannabis at the time. It had been coming into lockdown and it had been her way of stocking up.
“I suffer with my nerves. If I felt edgy I would have a smoke,” she said.
She had bought the cannabis after getting tax back.
She said that the persons who had sold it to her had driven out to her house and told her to take the bags and the scales.
“Maybe they were afraid of checkpoints going back to Limerick,” she said by explanation.
She told her solicitor, David Peters that she had thrown the bags under her bed and just never got rid of them.
“They came with the deal. It was the same with the weighing scales," she said.
Under cross-examination by Insp Amanda Reynolds, Ms O’Sullivan said that she had been a “bit of a doormat” all her life.
She had not been given any instruction with the items.
“The people appeared to be dodgy. I was going to purchase less but they made me take more. They said they were hot and didn’t want to go back in the road. I didn’t want to throw them out in case I was messaged but I had no use for them,” she said.
Ms O’Sullivan told Judge McGrath that two people had driven out from Limerick and they said they were worried about checkpoints as Ireland was going into lockdown.
Mr Peters, in his submission to the court, said that there had been no evidence of dealing on Ms O’Sullivan’s phone.
However, Insp Reynolds said it was a question of the amount and that Ms O’Sullivan had 197 deal bags and a weighing scales.
Judge MacGrath said that GUBU was a possibility in the drug world and she could not decide whether Ms O’Sullivan was “as naive as she came across or very clever”.
She dismissed the supply charge.
Judge MacGrath ordered a probation report on Ms O’Sullivan on the charge of possession of cannabis for July 28, saying the defendant was using cannabis for anxiety and that potentially left her open in the future.
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