JOSHUA Allen (19), the son of celebrity TV chef, Rachel Allen, was jailed for 15 months for having €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale or supply at the world-renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School.
The teen was handed a 15 month prison sentence at Cork Circuit Criminal Court after Judge Sean O'Donnabháin was told that Allen, who had spent three months in a residential drugs addiction treatment centre, had made a genuine effort to address his problems.
He was jailed for 15 months with the sentence backdated to November 8 when the teen served three weeks in prison on remand.
The teen was given a total two and a half year prison sentence with the final 15 months suspended.
He is the son of Rachel Allen, the grandson of Darina Allen and the great-grandson of the late Ballymaloe founder, Myrtle Allen.
He had been remanded in custody for three weeks to Cork Prison after one court appearance last November when the judge expressed dissatisfaction with his progress as outlined in a PWS report.
Judge O'Donnabhain was told that Mr Allen had initially approached the case with a level of "stupidity" - and was tested positive on one occasion during the legal process for having taken cannabis.
Defence counsel Síobhan Lankford SC said her client had now completed a 12 week treatment programme at Cuain Mhuire.
Ms Lankford said he had learned a salutary lesson and had engaged very well with the Cuain Mhuire programme.
He left Cuain Mhuire with an excellent report on his progress in addressing his addiction issues.
Further, he had also received an excellent progress report from the Probation and Welfare Service (PWS).
Judge O'Donnabhain was told the teen had spent Christmas in the treatment centre as part of the three month programme.
The judge said there was "a sad" back ground to the case with the teen having left school before his Junior Cert aged just 15 years.
He has obtained no qualifications since then.
Mr Allen, who appeared in court wearing a grey suit and white shirt, did not speak during the hearing beyond confirming he accepted a bond required for the suspended part of his sentence.
Judge O'Donnabhain noted the change in attitude of the defendant towards the case and his addiction issues.
He was also told that the teen has been fully supported by his family in addressing his addiction issues.
"He is a changed man," the judge said.
Judge O'Donnabhain also noted the defendant's early plea, his remorse, his co-operation with Gardai and his engagement with addiction support services.
However, he said it was a serious case - and pointed out that the teen had travelled to London with €2,000 to meet a contact and then arranged for the cannabis to be posted to him in Cork from the United States.
"He did it for profit," he said. "His culpability in this is significant."
The judge ruled out an entirely suspended sentence as inappropriate in the overall circumstances.
On November 8, Judge O'Donnabháin had warned that the initial PWS assessment of Mr Allen's progress had been singularly unimpressive.
“This lad has not matured in the manner I would expect or require of someone coming before the court on such a serious charge. He is knitting his own jumper. I will not let him do that."
Ms Lankford SC said there had been clear evidence of immaturity with the defendant.
Judge O'Donnabhain noted there had been a significant change in the teen's attitude since then - and he accepted the defendant now realised the seriousness of the matter.
Mr Allen came before the Circuit Criminal Court on a signed plea of guilty from Midleton District Court last year.
The most serious charge he faced was possession for sale or supply of €22,000 worth of cannabis contrary to Section 15 (A) of the Misuse of Drugs Act.
The court heard that the offence came to light when postal officials became suspicious of a parcel from the US at a Laois sorting office.
It was indicated the package contained clothing - but it was suspected the package contained drugs.
Detective Sergeant Michael O’Halloran said a controlled delivery was undertaken.
Joshua Allen, who was 18 at the time, signed for the parcel on August 30 2018 at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Shanagarry, Co Cork.
“He was observed sitting outside the shop, opening it and looking into it. He was then intercepted by gardaí,” Det. Sgt. O’Halloran explained.
The defendant was found to have cocaine for his own use in his wallet. He later informed gardaí he had a small quantity of cannabis at his home for his own personal use.
The teen told gardaí it was the third or fourth time he had received such a delivery of cannabis through the post from a woman in California who he had previously met in Cork.
She had been paid €2,000 in London for the delivery.
Ms Lankford SC previously told the court her client has no previous convictions, co-operated fully with gardaí and deeply regrets his involvement in the entire matter.
She said he has addiction issues which he has been taking firm steps to address by engaging with two Cork-based addiction treatment services and attending Cuain Mhuire on a residential basis.
Since April, he had been volunteering at a homeless support services outlet.
Mr Allen, the son of Rachel Allen and her husband, Isaac, lives at Ballinamona in Shanagarry.