Wednesday 23 October 2019

'Main man' in drug dealing scheme has prison sentence cut on appeal

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Ruaidhrí Giblin

The “main man” behind the movement and distribution of a significant amount of drugs has had his prison sentence cut on appeal.

Farid Fawzi (31), with an address at Cooneybeg, Rathpeacon, Co Cork, pleaded guilty to possessing almost €100,000 worth of cocaine and cannabis for sale or supply at his address on September 15, 2016.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Fawzi wasn’t present at the address when the premises was raided but a mobile phone was found which ultimately led gardaí to him.

In the Circuit Court, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the phone in question was “hopping with text messages and it’s all about drug dealing”. He said Fawzi was the “main main” in the movement and distribution of a significant amount of drugs and there were at least two people to whom he was giving directions.

Fawzi was not addicted to drugs, although he may have used them. He got into drug dealing for profit, because he was attracted to a "lucrative lifestyle" and "easy money", the court heard. 

Judge Ó Donnabháin sentenced Fawzi to 10 years imprisonment with the final two years suspended but this was reduced to seven years with the final six months suspended by the Court of Appeal today.

Giving judgment in the three-judge court, Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy said Fawzi was in Killarney at the time of the house-raid and his admissions were especially valuable in proving possession.

Fawzi’s barristers, Vincent Heneghan SC and Paula McCarthy BL, submitted that their client’s admissions deserved exceptional weight due to his distance from the drugs at the time of the house-raid. Furthermore, Fawzi’s guilty plea was of particular value, it was submitted. 

Mr Justice McCarthy said the 10-year headline sentence was within the judge’s discretion.

However, he said the discount of two years from the headline sentence, to take account of the mitigating factors, was insufficient and amounted to an error in principle.

He said a reduction of three years would have been appropriate and the court suspended the final six months to incentivise Fawzi’s continued rehabilitation.

Mr Justice McCarthy, who sat with Mr Justice John Edwards and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, resentenced him to seven years imprisonment with the final six months suspended.

Fawzi was required to enter into a good behaviour bond for the suspended period and for two years post release.

The court also required him to abide by all recommendations and directions of the probation service for the suspended period.

He undertook to be so bound.

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