Monday 24 September 2018

Man (31) jailed for transporting cannabis worth €224k into country

Timothy Laffey appeared for sentencing at Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore
Timothy Laffey appeared for sentencing at Mullingar Circuit Court sitting in Tullamore

Aoife Nic Ardghail

A Malaysian elevator technician has been jailed for three years for transporting €224,000 of cannabis into the country for people who he claimed had threatened his wife.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard Modh Nordin Bin Modh Hassan (31) told gardaí he had agreed to take the drugs to Ireland for a friend he'd met in Spain and that he had not been stuck for money at the time.

Dominic McGinn SC, defending, submitted to Judge Martin Nolan that his client had written a letter detailing how he had committed the offence because of threats made against his wife.

Counsel handed the judge the letter written by Hassan, in which he claimed his wife had now gone missing and his two small children were in the custody of his parents in Malaysia.

Hassan, with an address at Taman, Nordin, Tawau, Malaysia, pleaded guilty to possessing 11kg of cannabis worth €224,000 at Dublin Airport on September 28, 2017. He has no previous convictions.

Garda Robert Barber told Tony McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that customs officers stopped Hassan exiting through the airport's blue channel.

When they asked him about his luggage, Hassan revealed the bag was not his and an x-ray showed it contained a large amount of organic material.

Hassan said a man in Madrid had given him the bag and had told him to bring it to Ireland.

He said a friend who was living in Malaysia had paid for his return flights to Madrid, organised his accommodation in Dublin and had instructed him to get a new SIM card for his phone.

Hassan later told gardaí that he was to receive money for the job when he got to Dublin and that he had not been in financial difficulties.

Garda Barber agreed with Mr McGinn that his client's passport had only been issued a month before his arrival into Dublin and that this was his first time travelling outside of Malaysia.

Mr McGinn asked Judge Nolan to take Hassan's early guilty plea, full co-operation and the fact that prison would be harder on him as a foreign national into account when sentencing.

Counsel said Hassan made efforts to learn to speak English since his arrest and had written the letter given to the judge to explain his motives.

Mr McGinn asked the judge to recognise a certain naivety in his client and submitted that he was at the lowest limb of the drugs operation.

He said Hassan had worked as an elevator technician but now faced an uncertain future as he had lost his job at home.

Judge Nolan accepted Hassan's full admissions, good work history and previous clean record. He imposed a three year sentence backdated to when Hassan entered custody in September last year.

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