Ireland: No jail for ‘nice man’, 73, caught growing cannabis at his remote west Cork home

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Detective Garda Andrew Manning said the elderly cannabis grower was very easy to deal with and caused gardaí no trouble whatsoever

A 73-year-old “nice man” living in an extremely remote area of West Cork faced sentencing after being caught for the second time cultivating cannabis at his home.

Detective Garda Andrew Manning said the elderly cannabis grower was very easy to deal with and caused gardaí no trouble whatsoever.

Judge Elva Duffy was concerned about the fact that this was the defendant’s second time before the court for growing cannabis.

Defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan said his instructions from Richard Goldfrap of Kilcoe, Skibbereen, County Cork, were to be sure to say to Det Garda Manning that as far as the defendant was concerned the detective was “totally polite” in all of his interactions with him.

When this was put to Det Garda Manning at Cork Circuit Criminal Court, he said of Richard Goldfrap: “He is a nice man to deal with.”

Gardaí went to his home with a search warrant on June 11, 2021. They found 40 cannabis plants in pots. As Mr O’Sullivan pointed out there were no hydroponics, no special lighting and no use of tents or anything that would assist the growth of the plants and that similarly there was no evidence of any of the trappings of supplying the cannabis to anyone else.

It was accepted that the 73-year-old was growing the cannabis purely for his own use.

Det Garda Manning said that if the plants were mature they would have had a street value of €32,000. However, the plants that were found were all immature and may not have succeeded in growing to full potential in light of the unassisted manner in which they were being cultivated.

Judge Elva Duffy was concerned about one aggravating factor, namely that the defendant previously got a three-year suspended sentence for precisely the same offence in the past.

Mr O’Sullivan stressed the cooperation given by the defendant who has been living in this remote area of West Cork for the past 40 years, being originally from the UK.

“The prospect of a prison sentence has jolted him to a sense of reality,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

Richard Goldfrap tested clear of all drugs on four urinalysis tests prior to sentencing.

Judge Duffy said the law did not allow the cultivation of cannabis even if someone had an “off-grid” lifestyle.

The judge imposed a three-year suspended sentence but warned: “If you come back for a third time there will be no more chances.”

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