Saturday 24 August 2019

Rachel Allen's son Joshua appears in court charged with possessing drugs at Ballymaloe Cookery School

Joshua Allen, son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, pictured arriving with his legal counsel at Midleton District Court, Cork.
Pic Cork Courts Limited
Joshua Allen, son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, pictured arriving with his legal counsel at Midleton District Court, Cork. Pic Cork Courts Limited

Ralph Riegel

THE teenage son of celebrity Ballymaloe chef, Rachel Allen, has been remanded to Cork Circuit Criminal Court on signed pleas of guilty to drugs charges involving both cannabis and cocaine.

Joshua Allen (19), the eldest son of Rachel and Isaac Allen, appeared before Midleton District Court on a total of six charges contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977.

Four of the charges involved possession and possession for sale or supply of drugs, namely cannabis and cocaine, at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School in east Cork on August 30 2018.

The various charges, brought under Sections 3, 15 and 27 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, involved possession and possession for sale or supply of cannabis.

He also faced a charge of possession of cocaine at Ballymaloe Cookery School.

The most serious count involved a charge brought contrary to Section 15(A) of the Misuse of Drugs Act that Joshua Allen, at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork, had possession for sale of supply of a controlled drug, namely cannabis, with a value in excess of €13,000.

A conviction under Section 15(A) can, in certain circumstances, involve a sentence of 10 years.

That charge referred to Ballymaloe Cookery School on August 30 2018.

Two of the charges included possession of cannabis and possession of cannabis for sale or supply at Ballinamona, Shanagarry, Co Cork on September 5 2018.

The defendant, who turns 20 in November, lives at the Shanagarry address.

Inspector Tony O'Sullivan confirmed that the defendant had indicated he would be sent forward to Cork Circuit Criminal Court on a signed plea of guilty in respect of all charges.

"The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has indicated that the matter be dealt with on indictment. The DPP has consented to the matter being sent forward on a signed plea of guilty. That is what is happening," Inspector O'Sullivan said.

Solicitor Don Ryan, for Joshua Allen, told Judge Brian Sheridan his client was seeking a remand to the circuit court on signed pleas of guilty in respect of the matters.

"That is correct - he is going forward on signed pleas of guilty," he said.

Judge Sheridan remanded Allen on bail to the next session of Cork Circuit Criminal Court on May 8.

Gardaí stressed they had no objection to the defendant being remanded on bail.

However, Allen will be required to sign on at Midleton Garda Station three times each week.

The teen also had to surrender his passport and was required to undertake not to apply for new travel documents.

Under his bail conditions, the defendant must also remain in the jurisdiction and to continue to reside at Ballinamona, Shanagarry.

Mr Ryan confirmed the teen had already surrendered his passport to Gardaí.

The six charges arose in respect of Joshua Allen's arrest last September following the seizure by Gardaí of a quantity of cannabis at an address in east Cork.

The teen is the grandson of Darina Allen and the great-grandson of the late Myrtle Allen, founder of the Ballymaloe cookery empire in east Cork.

He arrived at Midleton District Court flanked by his solicitor, Don Ryan, as the charge against him was listed for the first time.

The defendant, who appeared in court wearing a blue suit, did not speak during the brief hearing beyond confirming his identity.

Inspector Sean McCarthy told Judge Sheridan that, after being arrested, cautioned and charged in respect of the six counts at 10.24 am today, the defendant made no reply to Gardaí.

The teen was arrested last September after the controlled delivery of a parcel containing the cannabis to an address in east Cork.

Officials at the Portlaoise Mail Centre had become very suspicious of the parcel which bore a US postmark and was stamped 'clothing'.

However, a cursory inspection of the parcel determined it did not contain clothing.

Joshua Allen was arrested when the parcel was subject to a controlled delivery to an address in east Cork under Garda surveillance.

He was questioned at Cobh Garda Station under drugs regulations before being released without charge.

A file on the matter was later submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

After his arrest, Joshua's parents, Rachel and Isaac, issued a statement which confirmed their son's detention.

The TV chef and face of the Ballymaloe House cookery franchise admitted she was "absolutely devastated" by what had happened to her son.

"He (Joshua) has been arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs (marijuana) with intent to supply them to others," a statement by Rachel and Isaac said.

"He co-operated fully with the Gardaí."

"We are absolutely devastated at this turn of events."

"We would ask that the legal process would be allowed to proceed to deal with this matter, without interference, and that we would be allowed to deal with this, like any other parents, in a similar position."

The family said they would not be making any further comment.

The teen was originally detained under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking) Act, 1996.

Joshua Allen's arrest came just three months after the death of Ballymaloe founder and his great grandmother, Myrtle Allen.

Myrtle had helped establish Ballymaloe as one of Ireland's preeminent food brands.

Joshua's grandmother, Darina Allen, was the public face of Ballymaloe for many years before  his mother, Rachel, fronted a number of successful TV cookery shows and became the modern 'face' of the world-renowned Ballymaloe franchise.

Rachel Allen has also authored a number of best-selling cookery books and now ranks as a major culinary figure in both the UK and US.

Ballymaloe, under Myrtle Allen, was one of the first Irish restaurants to achieve a prestigious Michelin star.

The Shanagarry facility now ranks as one of the most popular cookery schools in Europe, training chefs for both European and North American kitchens.

Rachel Allen's name has also been used to 'front' a number of Irish restaurant ventures, mostly recently 'Rachel's' on Washington Street in Cork.

However, despite a lavish launch just three years ago, the restaurant has since been rebranded and targeted at a more mid-stream clientele.

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