Monday 20 November 2017

Bid by two men to have case referred to Supreme Court rejected

Tim Healy

A BID by two men to have an appeal against convictions for the possession of heroin worth €43,000 heard by the Supreme Court has been dismissed.

Aidan Finnegan (31), with an address at Farranferris, Farranree, Co Cork, and Alan Morrison (32), of Coultry Road, Ballymun, Dublin, had denied possession of 215 grams of heroin at a wooded area at Brooklodge Grove, Glanmire, Cork, on September 5, 2008.

In 2009, they were each sentenced to 12 years imprisonment by Judge Patrick Moran, having been found guilty by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

They claimed they had been "stitched up" by gardai.

They claimed they had only gone into the wooded area to urinate and had not ventured sufficiently far up the woodland path to encounter the spot where the heroin was stashed.

After their appeals against conviction and severity of sentence were rejected by the Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) last year, they sought a referral of their case to the Supreme Court on grounds that it raised points of law of exceptional importance requiring determination in the public interest.

The point of laws related to cases where persons receive a different sentences to a co-accused for a similar type of offence, and the failure of the trial judge to adequately give reason for the disparity. A third man arrested with them received a five year prison sentence, by a different judge, after pleading guilty to the offence.

Lawyers for the men wanted the Supreme Court to determine if there was an onus on them to produce evidence during their appeal to the CCA to demonstrate the reasons and to justify the disparity between their sentence and the sentence imposed on the other man.

Today, the CCA dismissed their application.

Mr Justice Nial Fennelly said legal point they raised was not brought up during their original appeals.

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