When he was caught with drugs a 20-year-old man said he would unlock his phone for police but instead threw it on the ground and tried to stamp on it.
Benjamin Thomas Davis, Ravenswood, Banbridge, admitted unlawful possession of cannabis and obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty on April 14 this year.
For each of the two offences he was sentenced to three months in custody, suspended for two years. He was also fined a total of £500 - £250 on each charge – and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy.
Banbridge Magistrates Court heard last Thursday that shortly after 3pm police saw a parked car in a residential area of the town.
The defendant was in the driver’s seat and when he saw the police he started to fidget around his crotch area and appeared to panic.
There was a smell of cannabis coming from the car and police found five bags containing a total of 9.3 grams of herbal cannabis with a street value of £93.
Davis said he would unlock his phone for police but when it was passed to him he threw it on the ground and tried to stamp on it. Police seized the phone again but the defendant refused to give the pass code.
When interviewed Davis said he had never been in this situation and panicked. He added that there was nothing on the phone he was trying to hide.
A barrister said his client in interview said the cannabis was for his personal use and the obstruction arose because he simply panicked.
The barrister explained that the defendant had sent messages to his ex-partner and did not want police to see the tenure of the messages.
District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said it was not childish but criminal conduct.
He added that he had grave suspicion as to what was involved founded on the way the drugs were packaged and the cash found in the vehicle.
He warned the defendant that if he goes ‘further down this murky road’ he would find himself behind bars.