£400K cannabis factory accused refused bail

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A man charged in connection with a cannabis factory has been refused bail.

Thomas Eoghan Brolly is charged in connection with the seizure of cannabis plants worth £400,000 in the Foreglen Road area of Claudy.

The 25-year-old, of Coolessan Walk, Limavady, is charged with cultivating cannabis, being concerned in the supply of cannabis and possessing the class B drug with intent to supply.

He is further charged with simple possession of cannabis on October 23, last year.

Derry Magistrates Court heard 750 cannabis plants were seized in the property, with an estimated street value between £350,000 and £400,000.

Brolly allegedly handed himself into the police station the following day and claimed the cannabis factory was his and he had cultivated the plants.

The court was told he has since retracted this statement.

An investigating officer opposed bail for fear that Brolly would commit further offences or breach bail conditions.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said the application for bail was made on the basis that there has been delay in the case.

He said that another person has now been charged in connection with the drugs and it is unlikely the case will be ready for trial until Christmas ‘at the earliest’.

Mr MacDermott told the court Brolly is now making ‘strenuous efforts’ to deal with his drug and alcohol issues and has been granted compassionate bail to attend counselling sessions.

He urged the court to release the 25-year-old to deal to address his difficulties.

The solicitor said his client had been ‘used by others’ in relation to the cannabis factory and claimed the ‘strength of the evidence against him isn’t the strongest’.

Deputy District Judge Laura Ivers refused to release Brolly on bail.

However, she did agree to release him on three specific dates to attend counselling sessions.

The 25-year-old must be collected and returned to the prison by his mother to attend these sessions.

Brolly will appear in court again via videolink on September 21.