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£30k cannabis haul accused denied bail over fears he will flee

By Alan Erwin

Published 23/04/2016

A consignment of cannabis worth £30,000 seized in north Belfast had been sent from Belgium, a court heard yesterday
A consignment of cannabis worth £30,000 seized in north Belfast had been sent from Belgium, a court heard yesterday

A consignment of cannabis worth £30,000 seized in north Belfast had been sent from Belgium, a court heard yesterday.

Police said the drugs were posted from Brussels and repackaged in England before being intercepted last month.

The details emerged as a 47-year-old man was remanded in custody over the haul.

Patrick McGettigan appeared at Belfast Magistrates Court accused of conspiracy to import cannabis and attempted possession with intent to supply.

It was also revealed the accused, with an address at a hostel at Saintfield Road, has a wife and children in Thailand.

Opposing bail over fears he may flee, a detective claimed the defendant was in organised crime and had ties to Europe.

McGettigan was charged after police seized the drugs on March 8.

District Judge Fiona Bagnall was told police intercepted a parcel being delivered to Belfast from Southampton.

The cannabis was hidden inside the consignment, with packages bearing Brussels postmarks.

The case against McGettigan, who denies the charges, involves telephone traffic, cell-site analysis and travel bookings, the court was told.

Defence barrister Kelly Doherty said that her client was first questioned by police five weeks ago.

He has made no attempts to leave Northern Ireland since then and voluntarily attended a police station for a pre-arranged interview, she argued.

But the detective claimed there was a risk of further offences to recoup the £30,000 of drugs that had been lost.

She also insisted: "We believe he's a very high-level flight risk. He has close ties to Thailand - his wife and children are there."

Refusing bail, Judge Bagnall backed the detective's assessment. She remanded McGettigan in custody to appear again by video-link on May 20.

Belfast Telegraph

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