A man with epilepsy who grew his own cannabis to treat his condition has been put on probation for two years.
Police raided the home of Robert Savage, at Ballycarry Street in Belfast in July 2007, following a tip-off.
The judge told Belfast Crown Court he had “certainly passed the custody threshold” and failure to tackle his “drug addiction” would mean jail.
Savage admitted cultivating the drug and possession with intent to supply, as he had given some to friends.
A prosecution lawyer said police who raided his house found 11 growing cannabis plants in his back bedroom, along with almost two ounces of “loose material”, a small block of cannabis resin and assorted growing equipment including heat lamps, fans, plastic bags and instructions printed from the internet on how to grow cannabis.
A defence lawyer told the court Savage had suffered from epilepsy since he was the victim of a serious assault in Greece 13 years ago.
He said a fellow sufferer told him cannabis could help alleviate seizures.
The judge said that despite his documented medical condition, “the court cannot turn a blind eye… to someone putting the law to one side”.