A chemist who admitted selling unauthorised animal drugs to veterinary surgeons has narrowly escaped being sent to jail.
Dr Phillip Quinn, from Shandon Villas in Newry, admitted a total of 13 charges linking to the marketing and supply of unauthorised veterinary medical products.
At Omagh Crown Court, sitting in Belfast, the 57-year-old was handed a six month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.
The offences spanned over a period from December 2001 until April 2004. The situation came to light when Quinn's home and a second property in Ardboe were searched.
Items located during the search included labels and chemical materials for veterinary medicine. The court heard the marketing and selling of the medical product was in contravention of the Medicine Act 1968.
A Crown prosecutor said the medicine in question was “unlisted, untested and untried” and said there was no evidence it entered the food chain and therefore did not harm the public.
He added it was clear from the case made by Quinn in addition to what was found during the searches that the accused “didn't profit to a massive extent... he said it was a few thousand pounds”.
A defence barrister for Quinn said that when arrested, his client co-operated fully with the investigation, and said: “What was involved was the possession of products and offering to sell them rather than manufacturing.”
He also told the court the father-of-two was in ill health, suffered from depression and felt “his life has been ruined. He considers himself a ruined man financially”.
Passing sentence, His Honour Judge Norman Lockie accepted Quinn became involved with the unauthorised products after being forced to leave his previous profession due to ill health.