Men given ten year jail terms for possession of €3.5m worth of drugs lose appeals
Two men convicted of possessing €3.5m worth of cocaine and heroin have lost appeals to have their sentence reduced.
Mark Mahony (34) of Oak Court Lawn, Palmerstown, Dublin and Jason Brennan (33) of Willow Way Road Celbridge, Co Kildare had pleaded guilty to possession of €3.5m worth of heroin and cocaine in January 2013.
They were both sentenceed to 13 years imprisonment each with the final three suspended by Judge Martin Nolan at Naas Circuit Criminal Court in November of last year.
Refusing their appeal against sentence today, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the pair met each other in the car park of a service station in Naas on January 17 2013.
They were seen transferring a number of boxes to Mahony's car. Both men were spotted, stopped and arrested as they tried to leave the car park, Mr Justice Sheehan said.
The value of the drugs was €3.5m - €488,761 worth of cocaine and just over €3.1m worth of heroin. The judge said both men were appealing their sentence on grounds that they were excessive and oppressive and insufficient weight was given to mitigating factors.
Counsel for Mahony, Seán Gillane SC, said the movement of the drugs was from one car to another and his client's engagement “on a temporal level was for a matter of minutes”.
Mr Justice Sheehan said Mahony had no previous convictions and had worked tirelessly from the age of 15, when he left school to work as a metal fabricator.
In 2005, he was involved in a relationship and together they purchased a house. Some years later, the relationship broke down and Mahony, who had taken sole responsibility for the mortgage repayments, found himself without a job.
He tried to self harm, Mr Justice Sheehan said, and on one occasion had taken an overdose of sleeping tablets. Mahony had engaged with the Samaritans and was held in high regard by officers in charge at Cloverhill prison. A urine sample at sentencing confirmed that he was drug free.
Mr Justice Sheehan said Brennan had no previous convictions and had not been known previously to gardaí. Brennan had told gardaí that if he had known he was involved in he distribution of heroin he would not have involved himself because he had suffered form the drug himself.
Notwithstanding his addiction he worked his whole life. The court had evidence that he worked from 2003 to 2012 with the same firm and his employers described him as a popular and hardworking employee.
At the time of sentencing he had been in a relationship for twelve years and had a seven-year-old daughter.
Counsel for both men submitted that there were specific and exceptional circumstances that would justify the court going below the minimum sentence.
The Court of Appeal noted the significant rehabilitation steps taken by both men. These matters were before the sentencing judge and were taken into account by him. Mr Justice Sheehan said the sentencing judge clearly held that the appropriate sentence was one that exceeded the 10 year minimum in respect of offences involving such quantities of drugs.
Mr Justice Sheehan said the Court of Appeal saw no reason to interfere with the sentence imposed.
Both men were returned to prison where they will serve out their sentences. They each had a number of supporters and family members in court for today's appeal.