Herbal cannabis charges dropped against mechanic

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A mechanic accused of a link to a £300,000 15-kilo cannabis haul seized in a lorry in Co Antrim has had the two charges he faced withdrawn.

25-year-old James Daniel Kennedy, of Adelaide Road in the Kensington area of Liverpool, had been charged with supplying herbal cannabis and being concerned in the supply of herbal cannabis on May 7 last year.

At Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday a prosecutor said they were offering no evidence and were withdrawing the charges.

The accused was not present in court as he had previously been excused from attending.

Kennedy was released on bail at Belfast High Court in January after being remanded in custody at his first court hearing in Ballymena on Saturday January 14.

On January 14, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard £2 million worth of drugs has been seized from an organised crime gang in England suspected of supplying Northern Irish lorry drivers with herbal cannabis to bring across the Irish Sea and then move it into the Republic of Ireland.

The comment was made by a police officer when Kennedy was refused bail in relation to the discovery of £300,000 worth of herbal cannabis found at Moorfields Road between Larne and Ballymena last May.

Police arrested Kennedy in January this year after he flew into Manchester Airport from Barcelona and he was taken to Northern Ireland for questioning.

Opposing bail on January 14 the officer said police believe an “organised crime gang in England is supplying lorry drivers from Northern Ireland with herbal cannabis. They are bringing it in to Northern Ireland and supplying it to the Republic of Ireland.”

She said three arrests had been made in connection with seizures of £2 million worth of drugs.

The officer said a Northern Ireland lorry driver was stopped at Moorfields Road last year and £300,000 worth of cannabis was recovered in a box and claimed investigations forensically linked Kennedy with a “fingerprint to the box”.

On January 14, a defence solicitor said the Moorfields Road herbal cannabis was in sealed bags and there was none of his client’s DNA on them but the police officer alleged Kennedy was linked by his fingerprint on an outer box.

Kennedy’s solicitor told the January court his client “gave an innocent explanation” that he handled boxes during his work as a car mechanic.