A Northern Ireland court service interpreter has appeared in the dock himself to admit growing cannabis.
Polish translator Daniel Pilarski — who also worked for the NHS — confessed to growing 30 cannabis plants at his family home.
Pilarski (46), appeared at Banbridge court sitting in Newry, where he was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service for offences of cultivating and possessing the drug on June 21 last year.
The court heard that the PSNI attended his address in Poyntzpass on unrelated inquiries. A strong smell of cannabis was detected coming from a temporary greenhouse and during a search, a number of cannabis plants were discovered.
Two further sites in the garden were found with a total of 30 class B drug plants growing.
A small bag of white powder, found to have been a hybrid of two class A drugs to a total of 1g, was also discovered in the house.
Pilarski arrived at the Newry Road home a short time later and was arrested.
During a further search of the house paraphernalia associated with cultivating cannabis was seized.
During a police interview, Pilarski accepted that he had cultivated the cannabis plants, but insisted that the drugs were for his own use. He explained that he had bought cannabis seeds for £126 from the internet and claimed that he used the drugs for medical difficulties. A defence lawyer said his client, who had been a highly respected government interpreter for the court service and the NHS, fully admitted to the offences.
“Ironically he was taking the cannabis for health reasons, but it has now left him in bad health with anxiety issues and has also put significant strain on his relationship with his partner as well as losing his job,” said defence counsel. “This has been extremely stressful for him and his family. He is hard working and of a very good character,” added the solicitor.
District judge Phillip Mateer said: “As an interpreter for courts, you were thinking that there is one rule for others and another rule for you. There were two children in the house. You showed scant regard for your partner and the cannabis was a hazard to your family.”
Pilarski was further given 12 months probation in an enhanced combination order.