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Judge warns of cannabis-schizophrenia risk 22.06.07

A judge sitting in Carndonagh this week warned young people they may increase their risk of developing schizophrenia if they use cannabis.
Judge Derek McVeigh made his comments during the case of 18-year old Aidan Doherty, Gortyarn, Carn, who pleaded guilty to possession of 50 worth of cannabis resin on October 22, 2006.
Gardai on patrol in the town on the night in question said their attention was drawn to the defendant as he "shuffled about" in the driver's seat of a car. A search uncovered the illegal drugs, the court was told.
Defence solicitor Geraldine Conaghan said her client came from a good family and was an industrious worker, earning 410 a week in his father's plastering business. She said he had fallen in with some people outside a nightclub which led to him being in possession of the drug. She appealed to the judge to apply the Probation Act in recognition of the defendant's previous good character and lack of convictions. But Judge McVeigh said the court viewed the charge as a serious one. Referring to a recent report he had read on the issue, he said: "Cannabis can cause schizophrenia especially in young brains. So it's a serious charge as far as the court is concerned." However, he gave Ms. Conaghan the benefit of her submission about her client's youth and previous good character. He ordered the teenager to pay 250 into the court poor box, to go to the James Connolly Memorial Hospital in Carndonagh. He applied the Probation Act, with no conviction attached.
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