Belfast Telegraph

Mechanic charged over £300k cannabis seizure in Co Antrim 'skint' after exotic holidays, court hears

By Alan Erwin

A mechanic from Liverpool charged over a £300,000 cannabis seizure in Co Antrim is now "skint" after a series of exotic holidays, he told the High Court today.

As James Kennedy was granted bail, he claimed he has nothing left from the £16,000 sale of his car three months ago.

Fingerprint evidence allegedly links the 25-year-old to the drugs haul found in a lorry stopped on the Moorfields Road in Ballymena last May.

Kennedy, of Adelaide Road in the Kensington area of Liverpool, was arrested earlier this month as he flew into Manchester Airport from Barcelona.

A judge was told the accused, who earns £300 a week, had been on other trips to Dubai, the Bahamas, Turkey and Spain.

Mr Justice Burgess questioned whether he still has any money to put towards a cash surety.

The accused, appearing by prison video-link, replied: "I really have no money left, I'm skint.

"I have £62 left in my bank account sir, and that's all."

Kennedy faces charges of unlawfully supplying herbal cannabis and being concerned in its supply on May 7 last year.

Prosecutors claimed he is forensically linked to a fingerprint on the outside of the box containing 15kg of the drug.

It was also alleged that an English crime gang is supplying lorry drivers with consignments to bring into Ireland.

Defence counsel Jonathan Browne said his client paid for his foreign holidays using £16,000 received for selling his Volkswagen Golf.

He insisted Kennedy's fingerprints were not found on any of the drugs packages inside the box.

Mr Browne added that the accused would regularly handle boxes during the course of his work as a motor mechanic.

Recognising that the prosecution case centres on a print on outer packaging, Mr Justice Burgess decided to grant bail.

He ordered the defendant to surrender his passport and lodge a £4,000 cash surety put up by his wider family.

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