Friday 6 December 2019

Rachel Allen's son Joshua will spend Christmas in drug addiction treatment centre after being released on bail

Drug offences: Joshua Allen had some of the drugs at cooking school. Photo: Cork Courts Limited
Drug offences: Joshua Allen had some of the drugs at cooking school. Photo: Cork Courts Limited
Joshua Allen. Picture: Cork Courts
Celebrity chef Rachel Allen and her son Joshua

Ralph Riegel

JOSHUA Allen (19), the son of celebrity TV chef Rachel Allen, will spend Christmas in a residential addiction treatment centre after being granted bail and released from Cork Prison on drugs charges.

The revelation came as Judge Sean O'Donnabháin adjourned sentencing of the teen on charges of possession for sale or supply of €22,000 worth of cannabis at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School until the February 2020 sitting of Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Judge O'Donnabháin remanded the teen on bail on condition he immediately attends a residential drug treatment programme.

Further, he made an order that Mr Allen will now come under the supervision of the Probation and Welfare Service (PWS).

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Judge O'Donnabháin stressed that Mr Allen is to comply with all instructions of the treatment centre and, if he leaves the centre without permission, the PWS are to be immediately informed.

They, in turn, will then inform the Gardaí.

Mr Allen 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 to Cork Prison after his last court appearance, when the judge expressed dissatisfaction with his progress as outlined in a PWS report.

"All of this now is strictly on the understanding that I have not passed sentence and there are no guarantees being made," he said.

Defence counsel Síobhan Lankford SC said her client had secured a bed at a residential treatment programme and was immediately willing to commence a 12-week treatment programme.

However, the PWS queried whether the treatment programme involved should be 20 weeks rather than 12 weeks in duration.

Don McCarthy BL, for the State, said this issue could be clarified at the February court sessions.

Judge O'Donnabháin granted bail and directed that Mr Allen immediately take up the residential addiction treatment programme.

"The accused has no difficulties with that," Ms Lankford SC said.

He will attend the treatment centre until he appears again before Cork Circuit Criminal Court on February 28.

Mr Allen, who appeared in court wearing a grey suit and white shirt, did not speak during the hearing.

On November 8, Judge O'Donnabháin had warned that the 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. He is going from the probation service and self-referring elsewhere," he warned.

"He has been allowed to knit his own cardigan. It cannot be allowed to continue. It is a serious offence and everyone knew it was a serious offence."

Ms Lankford SC said there had been clear evidence of immaturity with the defendant.

"He left school at 15 years," she said.

The court previously heard that since the defendant engaged with a drug treatment programme there had been evidence of him relapsing a number of times.

He had also missed a number of scheduled appointments as part of the drug rehabilitation programme.

Mr Allen came before the Circuit Criminal Court on a signed plea of guilty from Midleton District Court.

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 said.

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.

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.

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