A MAN who received a 14-year sentence for possession of €6.5m worth of cannabis more than seven years ago claims he is being wrongly denied a chance to get temporary release from prison.
Shane O'Rourke (34), New Inn, Enfield, Co Meath, received a mandatory 10 years with another four years suspended in Naas Circuit Court in March 2007 arising out of the 700kg drugs find in a container parked at the rear of a house between Enfield and Carbury in Co Kildare, on August 23, 2005.
O'Rourke, a father of two who formerly operated a plant and tool hire business, has served his sentence in a number of prisons and is currently held in Loughan House in Cavan which is a recognition that he has been of good behaviour, his counsel John Fitzgerald told the High Court today.
He was entitled to apply for temporary release after nine weeks after being transferred to Loughan House but when he did so he was told he was legally barred because he had received a mandatory sentence.
Mr Fitzgerald said they were seeking orders overturning that decision because there is in fact no statutory basis for doing so and it is effectively fettering the discretion of the prison authorities.
Mr Justice Michael Peart granted him permission to challenge the decision and said the matter can come back before the court in April.