Ballykelly man accused of cannabis offences

Police believe a Ballykelly man accused of possessing £500 worth of cannabis is “highly involved in the supply of drugs”, a court has heard.

An investigating officer made the comment as 27-year-old William James Patrick O’Connor appeared at Derry Magistrate’s Court.

O’Connor, of Churchill Road in the village, is charged with possession of cannabis with intent to supply, simple possession of the class B drug and being concerned in the supply of cannabis.

The charges relate to a search of the defendant’s home on June 30.

Derry Magistrate’s Court heard police forced entry to the house and O’Connor was in the kitchen allegedly preparing small bags of herbal cannabis.

It is alleged he was weighing the drugs on a set of scales and ten bags which had already been filled were lying on the kitchen table.

The court heard that in total police found a total of 55 grams of cannabis, worth approximately £550.

During police interview, the 27-year-old claimed he was a heavy user of cannabis and the drugs found were for his own personal use.

He allegedly told police he smoked up to 14 grams of the class B drug every day and would individually package these amounts, but denied being involved in the supply of cannabis.

The officer opposed bail because of the risk of further offending. He told the court police believe O’Connor is “highly involved in the supply of drugs” and “has been for a number of years”.

He revealed the Public Prosecution Service is currently preparing a case against the 27-year-old for drug supply offences in the Limavady area dating back to October 2010.

Defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott said his client is a recognised drug addict and only has one previous conviction for possessing drugs.

He urged the court to grant O’Connor bail with stringent conditions.

Refusing bail, District Judge Barney McElholm said it was “ludicrous” for O’Connor to suggest he was dividing the drugs into small bags for his own use.

The 27-year-old was remanded in custody and will appear in court, via videolink, on July 23.