A 25-year-old man claimed he was under death threat when he appeared at Derry Magistrate’s Court last week charged with cannabis possession.
The man, a paramilitary victim in the past, cannot be named in order to prevent himbeing targeted again.
A Public Prosecution Service (PPS) solicitor explained how on May 18, 2016, the defendant was observed in the Brandywell area sitting in a car surrounded by youths.
Police approached and the defendant removed his coat and handed it to one of the youths who ran off, the PPS solicitor said. Officers subsequently carried out a Section 23 search of the defendant under the Misuse of Drugs Act 2001 and uncovered a small amount of cannabis resin in his back pocket.
During interview the defendant told officers: “I heard it was for pain. I used it for my leg. It’s for personal use,” the court heard.
Defence solicitor Aiden Carlin said his client was “physically disabled” and the drugs were for “personal use for pain relief”. He asked the court to give the defendant credit for making full admissions. He requested reporting restrictions to protect his client from the attention of paramilitaries who have attacked him in the past. The defendant personally affirmed that he was still subject to a death threat from unnamed parties.
District Judge Barney McElholm fined the man £75 and ordered him to pay an offender levy of £15.