A DEFENCE lawyer claimed a man with a Drumahoe address who was found with nine bags of herbal cannabis and £800 cash in Broughshane was "supplying a close group of friends".
Mark Kelly (45), of Old School Field, was sentenced at Ballymena Magistrates Court on charges of being concerned in the supply of cannabis; possession of Diazepam and being in charge of a vehicle whilst unfit.
A prosecutor said police spoke to the defendant who was in an Audi A6 in a car park on January 9 last year and they could smell cannabis.
When the defendant got out of the vehicle he "swayed"; was slurring his words and "presented as being confused".
Nine bags of herbal cannabis were in a shopping bag concealed in his jumper; the defendant had £800 cash in his pockets; there was a set of scales under the driver's seat and four grammes of cannabis was in a tub in the central console.
Diazepam tablets were found during a search of his home.
A defence barrister said the defendant had been a "cannabis addict who had been supplying a close group of friends and buying cannabis in bulk to fund his own addiction".
District Judge Nigel Broderick said normally for the supply of drugs courts would immediately jail defendants but he noted Kelly had "engaged well" with Probation from a previous matter and now is in a full time job.
For the new offences the judge handed down a four months jail term, suspended for a year and banned the defendant from driving for a year along with a £200 fine.
The defendant was given £500 bail for appeal and was given permission to drive in the mean time.