Northern Ireland

Police find 'cannabis rocket fuel' text on dealer's phone

Laganside

A drug dealer's mobile phone held a text message that said his cannabis was "rocket fuel", the Crown Court has heard.

It also said that his other tablets, similar to Ecstasy were "top notch".

Stephen John Tumilty, 35, was sentenced to ten months in prison at Belfast Crown Court on Tuesday.

The court was told that he was caught with a "cocktail" of Class A, B and C drugs in April 2013.

He also had a mobile phone that doubled as a stun gun.

A prosecuting lawyer said a variety of drugs had been found at Tumilty's home on 9 April 2013.

The court heard that after a police search, a bomb was left at Tumilty's home and he and his family fled to another address.

Messages on his mobile phone made it clear that Tumilty was supplying drugs.

Tumilty was initially charged with 15 drugs offences and possessing the stun gun without authority.

Subsequently, he pleaded guilty to a total of eight offences.

His defence lawyer said that despite the Crown's assertion that Tumilty had acted for financial gain, this was not the case as his wife had won a "significant amount of money" in the lottery.

He said the offences were committed under the "spectre of threats and duress".

After the police search in 2013, a bomb had been left outside the family home by paramilitaries, the lawyer said.

His client was a "middle man, rather than someone high up the drug dealing chain", he said.

Tumilty met the paramilitaries while training in various gyms, his lawyer said.

"He was befriended, and it became clear those who befriended him were not in fact friends. They were sinister individuals."

Since the search two years ago, there had been no further offences.

Tumilty's lawyer contended that he had acted under the "spectre of duress" and had been "pressured to comply".

The judge accepted that Tumilty was "a middle man" and had been asked to store some of the drugs for others.

However, he said that while there may have been "an element or duress or pressure", this did not excuse his conduct.

He told Tumilty that he had associated with people whom he knew to be paramilitaries. It reminded the judge of an expression his grandmother used to use: "If you sup with the devil, you have to have a long spoon."

This expression could be applied to paramilitaries, he told Tumilty.

"When things go wrong, then you will come under pressure and that pressure will be applied not only to you and your family... and can lead to serious consequences for you and your family," he said.