A Cork man who claimed he was rabbit-dazzling was jailed for eight years as the judge said the jury did not believe the man was hunting but was going to recover ten kilos of cannabis on a country lane.
Karl Humphries was sentenced to ten years with the last two years suspended by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Humphries said he always kept dogs and had been going hunting all his life and this included ‘dazzling’ or ‘lamping’ rabbits in fields.
He claimed he was checking the suitability of a field for dazzling when Detective Garda Michael O’Halloran emerged from his concealed position in a drug surveillance operation and arrested him.
The judge said, “He was assessing evidence of ground for lamping, that he was going to go home and collect Fido – it was completely unbelievable.
“This man came from Bishopstown and located this stash of ten kilos indicating he was part of this group and a valuable part of the group given that he had knowledge of where the drugs were. I don’t think he was at courier or driver level. He was fully engaged in the transport and supply of drugs on that date.
The case related to July 29 2012 at Ardnageehy East, Watergrasshill, County Cork. Humphries of Curraheen Drive, Bishopstown, Cork, left Cork after he was questioned and before he was charged and went to Australia. He was arrested and charged recently in Cork and denied all charges against him.
Det. Garda O’Halloran gave evidence in the trial that he got into a concealed position to observe the area of a ditch on a quiet lane in Watergrasshill where drugs squad officers had previously located €58,000 worth of cannabis. They returned the black bag of drugs to the concealed position under an old tyre and kept it under surveillance.
Det. Garda O’Halloran said a green Renault Clio arrived and the passenger – Karl Humphries – got out.
“He (the defendant) started what appeared to be a search of this area. He got over the gate. He searched these tyres.
"He froze. He was in shock – shaking,” the detective testified.
Interviewed later by gardaí, one of the detectives put it to him – in the memo put before the jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court –
Humphries told gardaí that this was the case and he denied being involved in the drugs trade at any level at all.
“All I care about is soccer, keep fit and hunting,” he said when first interviewed in the case.
Defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan called the accused to give evidence in his trial.
Humphries said, “My business there was picking out the fields for hunting.”
Mr O’Sullivan BL asked, “Were you ever there before?”
Humphries replied, “No, but I would like to go back again for a bit of hunting.”