A 30-YEAR-OLD man caught in possession of a small amount of cocaine told police that he thought the white powder was a so-called ‘legal high’, Fermanagh Magistrates Court has heard.

Stuart Andrew Smiton, of Glebe Park, Enniskillen, was charged with possession of a Class A controlled drug, namely cocaine, and a Class B controlled drug, namely cannabis, on April 9 last year.

Smiton had pleaded guilty to both offences at an earlier appearance before the court, and a pre-sentence report was prepared in the case.

The court heard that, on the date in question, police searched both the defendant and his vehicle and uncovered suspected herbal cannabis and some white powder.

Forensic analysis confirmed that these substances were controlled drugs. A total of 10.4g of herbal cannabis had been seized, along with 0.68g of cocaine.

A subsequent search of the defendant’s vehicle also uncovered some other items, but there was only “trace amounts”.

After the defendant was arrested in connection with the seizure, he admitted possessing the drugs.

During interview, Smiton told officers that the cannabis was for his own personal use and added that he thought the white powder was a ‘legal high’.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) representative told the court that the defendant had two previous entries on his record.

She also applied for a destruction order in relation to the seized drugs, which was granted by the judge.

Defending solicitor, Emer Cox, said that these offences had occurred in April 2014. She revealed that her client had initially been released on police bail for several months, pending the completion of forensic analysis of the drugs.

The solicitor told the court that the “onerous” bail conditions had a “sobering” effect on Smiton.

While conceding that the defendant had two previous convictions from 2009, Ms Cox urged the judge to give the defendant full credit for his cooperation with the police and early guilty plea.

District judge, Nigel Broderick, observed that, in light of the charges and the defendant’s previous entries, he was minded to deal with this by way of a community service order.

The judge ordered Smiton to carry out 120 hours of community service, concurrent on each charge.