However, when Michael Finnegan appeared at Fermanagh Court he admitted unlawful possession of the herbal cannabis. He was sentenced to three months in prison, suspended for three years.
A charge that he had the drug with the intention of supplying it to another person was withdrawn.
A prosecutor explained that at approximately 6.30pm on Saturday, March 24, an off-duty police officer saw Finnegan passing a suspicious package to a person in a car on the Cornagrade Road in Enniskillen. As a result officers went to Finnegan's nearby home at Kilmacormick Drive in Enniskillen. They saw him sitting in the living room. They knocked on the window and told him to come to the door. He went to the front bathroom and spoke to them through the window before eventually letting them in. He asked if he could use the toilet and was told he could, after he had been searched and the bathroom had been searched. On searching the bathroom the officers found three small packets of herbal cannabis in the toilet bowl. Finnegan denied possession of the drugs, claiming the only way the packets could have got into his toilet was if the police had put them there.
Defence solicitor, Miss Daragh Montague, told District Judge Liam McNally: "I know you have heard it before and I know you have had your doubts about him turning his life around but he has turned over a new leaf."
She said Finnegan was now engaged with the Prince's Trust and: "If he takes a drink, it's once a week."
"Once too often, in my view," said the District Judge.
He told Finnegan it was a serious offence and his criminal record did not commend itself to him. It included previous convictions for offences of a similar nature.
He said he was imposing the maximum sentence for possessing cannabis, which was three months in prison and quite lenient, but suspending it for three years because Finnegan had admitted his guilt, had served a prison sentence since committing the offence and "to let you prove you have turned over a new leaf".