Couple are denied bail over £320k Dunmurry drugs haul
A mother-of-three and her partner have been remanded in custody after they were accused of hiding more than £300,000 of cannabis in a shed outside their back door.
Deborah Mulholland (29) and 28-year-old Declan Sullivan held hands as they appeared in the dock at Lisburn Magistrates Court.
Both were charged with possessing class B cannabis and having herbal cannabis and cannabis resin with intent to supply on April 11 this year.
A detective constable told the court police had uncovered the two types of cannabis in a shed at the rear of Mulholland's home at Cloona Manor in the Dunmurry area of west Belfast during an "intelligence-led operation".
He said that inside the padlocked shed, the key to which was found in the kitchen, officers found a large holdall bag.
It was filled with "nine bars" of cannabis resin which were "vacuum packed and quite professionally stamped", he said.
The herbal cannabis was uncovered in a black bin bag inside a box. In total the estimated street value was "more than £320,000".
During interviews, Mulholland and Sullivan claimed they knew nothing about the drugs in the shed, and that they only went into it to get their children's bicycles and the like.
The officer said police objected to bail on the grounds that the find represented a "considerable financial loss" so they would be likely to commit further offences "to recoup the loss".
Under cross-examination from the couple's solicitor, the officer agreed that neither had any convictions for drug offences and that an address well outside of Belfast had been offered.
The solicitor submitted that with the case likely to hang on forensic and fingerprint examinations of the packaging: "realistically we are looking at several months down the line" before those findings are known and that in the meantime, three children would be without both parents.
However, District Judge Rosemary Watters refused bail on the grounds of the risk of further offences being committed.
"I find it hard to believe that neither of them didn't know that such a large amount of drugs was hidden in such a small shed," she said.
"I suppose the reality is that these drugs are worth a lot of money and whoever owns them would not have put them in a place without knowing they were safe in some way or without knowing that the owners or occupiers were prepared to look after them – I think that's the real world in practical terms," said the judge.
Remanding the couple into custody, she ordered them to appear to appear again via videolink on April 28.