A man has been given a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment for the possession of psychedelic mushrooms and herbal cannabis.
Daniel William Martel, 33, pleaded guilty to possession of the Class A and Class B drugs on April 25 2022 and appeared in the Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Crown Advocate Chris Dunford explained to the Court that at midnight on Christmas Day 2021 Martel was stopped by the police for questionable driving.
The officers subsequently “observed controlled drugs” in his vehicle. A search uncovered a few ziplock bags containing small quantities of herbal cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms in both a blue rucksack and in the footwell. Martel was then arrested.
A search at Martel’s property revealed several individual quantities of cannabis and mushrooms throughout. In total, 15.77 grams of mushrooms and 24.09 grams of cannabis were discovered.
Martel gave no comment during interviews, and Advocate Dunford highlighted the defendant’s previous convictions for drug related offences.
Pictured: Martel was found to be in possession of nearly an ounce of herbal cannabis.
Defence Advocate Samuel Steel questioned whether the weight of the mushrooms truly indicated an equal amount of Class A drugs since some of the organic material could include bark, wood-chip, and pine needles.
But Judge Graeme McKerrell said that a quantity of usable magic mushrooms would still be present: “This is a Class A drug that is illegal, end of."
Advocate Steel said his client used cannabis for medicinal purposes to alleviate anxiety and “physical pain from the ankle".
He added that Martel had a pending application for the lawful prescription of medicinal cannabis, and that the discovered drugs were only for personal use.
He also said that Martel was “using drugs as a way to distract his mind,” and is now seeking professional therapy for mental health reasons.
Advocate Steel asked the Judge to consider a suspended sentence and said, whilst Martel is “not physically able to do community service,” that light duties could be undertaken.
He also noted Martel’s “recent and relevant” convictions.
Pictured: Sentencing occurred in the Magistrate's Court.
Sentencing Martel, Judge McKerrell said: “You have a long record significantly involving a number of drug offences.”
He claimed that self-medication is not an acceptable reason or a lawful option.
“The bottom line is, the mushrooms are a Class A drug.”
However, Judge McKerrell noted assurances in Martel’s references that he is “trying to turn his life around".
“I am prepared to accept at face value that your attempts to turn things around are not empty words as before.”
Martel was sentenced to four months in prison for the mushrooms and two months in prison for the cannabis to run concurrently, but the sentence was suspended for two years.
Judge McKerrell also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.
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