Judge tells Ballymena man who offered to supply drugs he is 'unbelievably lucky' prosecutors decided to take the case to the Magistrates Court

Judge tells Ballymena man who offered to supply drugs he is 'unbelievably lucky' prosecutors decided to take the case to the Magistrates Court

A JUDGE told a man with a Ballymena address who had offered to supply drugs he is "unbelievably lucky" that prosecutors had not taken the case to the Crown Court.

Deputy District Judge Chris Holmes was speaking at Ballymena Magistrates' Court to Jackie Morgan (34), with an address listed as Ballyclug Mews.

The defendant was sentenced on charges of offering to supply cocaine, cannabis and Diazepam; cultivating three cannabis plants and possession of cannabis.

The charges relate to dates in 2019 and 2020.

A prosecutor said police searched the defendant's home on March 12, 2020, after acting on "intelligence received".

Three cannabis plants in the "later stage of cultivation" were found in a cupboard in a ground floor flat in the Ballymena area along with two grammes of cannabis.

The defendant's mobile phone was seized and there was evidence of text messages including "offering to supply drugs".

The messages also including conversations about "meeting places in the Ballymena area" and made reference to "drug debts".

Morgan told police he had been "beaten badly" in December 2019 and had "anxiety" and "PTSD" and as a result he was growing the cannabis to "self-medicate" and he would eat and smoke it.

A defence lawyer said the messages on the phone involved a "small circle, the defendant would say, friends".

Judge Holmes said the defendant was "unbelievably lucky" the case was taken by prosecutors to the Magistrates Court as he was aware of a similar case at a Crown Court which involved a four year prison sentence.

Morgan was given a six months prison sentence, suspended for three years.