A 37-year-old "gardener" accused of being a member of a criminal gang involved in growing and selling drugs in Fermanagh appeared at Fermanagh Court yesterday (Wednesday).
Marcus Andrew Weir, of Cloverhill Park, Springfield, Enniskillen, is charged with cultivating cannabis, unlawfully possessing the drug and possessing it with intent to supply it to another person.
The investigating police officer told the court he believed he could connect Weir with the three charges.
Outlining the circumstances of the case, the officer said that on Monday, December 17, police went to a house at Molly Road, Derrylin. Weir was on the property and when police searched it they discovered 93 cannabis plants.
Objecting to Weir being released on bail, the officer said police believed he was the "gardener" and a member of a criminal gang involved in the cultivating and selling of drugs in the Fermanagh area.
He said police feared that if Weir was released on bail he would re-offend to recoup his loses of approximately �43,000.
The officer said that during police interview Weir replied "no comment" to most of the questions, and when asked why he was at the house, said he could not remember why he was there.
Defence solicitor Julie Cooper said the father of four lives with his partner in Springfield. She said there was no forensic evidence at this stage and the only thing linking him was his presence at the property.
District Judge Liam McNally told her there was a "pretty strong" prima facie case against Weir.
"He was where the plants were found and made no comment to questions," said the District Judge.
Miss Cooper said police had Weir's passport and she reminded the court that there was a presumption in favour of bail, adding that he had no relevant previous convictions for drugs offences.
The District Judge said he was concerned at the length of time it would take the case to come to trial and pointed out that Weir has had no convictions since 2001.
He said there was a presumption in favour of bail and a presumption of innocence.
He told Weir that Miss Cooper had described the case against him as "weak and circumstantial".
"I don't accept that. It appears to be a strong case against you," stated the District Judge. He said he accepted that there was a likelihood Weir would commit further offences but because of the presumption in favour of bail he felt that could be dealt with by the imposition of conditions.
He released Weir on bail of �5,000, with a surety of �10,000, on condition that he resides at Cloverhill Park, Springfield, abides be a curfew from 7pm until 7am and reports daily to Enniskillen Police Station. He is not allowed to have a mobile phone, nor travel in a private vehicle other than one being driven by his partner or a person approved by the police.
The District Judge warned Weir that if he breached any of the conditions he would have no hesitation in remanding him in custody until his trial, regardless of how long that will take.
Weir was released to appear again at Fermanagh Court on February 11.