Judge says probation report is depressing

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A 36-year-old man who admitted possession of class B drugs was given suspended prison sentences last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court.

John Topley, Woodside Park, Loughbrickland, pleaded guilty to having cannabis resin on December 11 last year and on the same date having dibutylone.

For each of the two offences he was fined £250 and sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for two years.

The court heard that police went to an address in Banbridge to effect the arrest of another person and found drugs. Topley claimed they belonged to another person. He declined to name this person.

A barrister said Topley who suffered from anxiety, depression and other issues was attempting to get employment.

He added that his client had been canvassing local firms about painting and decorating work and as a handy man. The barrister said Topley also suffered post traumatic stress disorder and had a traumatic upbringing.

He explained that on this occasion a friend’s girlfriend who was pregnant found out she was going to lose the baby and there had been a meeting in the house where illegal substances were taken.

The lawyer said that three years ago the defendant’s brother had died from drug addiction.

Judge Copeland said the probation report made for ‘depressing reading’ but he was prepared to give the defendant a chance as there was ‘some light however dim at the end of the tunnel’.

He told Topley: “Possession of drugs is a serious offence and the abuse and distribution of drugs is a serious issue.

“People like you allow it to continue.”