Wednesday 25 April 2018

Solicitor accused of bringing drugs into Mountjoy Prison charged with cocaine possession

Aonghus McCarthy, a solicitor, is accused of conveying a controlled substance into Mountjoy Prison Pic: Courtpix
Aonghus McCarthy, a solicitor, is accused of conveying a controlled substance into Mountjoy Prison Pic: Courtpix

Tom Tuite

AN EXTRA charge has been brought against a solicitor accused of bringing cocaine into Mountjoy Prison during a professional visit.

Aonghus McCarthy, 32, had been charged in November under Section 15c of the Misuse of Drugs Act for conveying a controlled drug into Mountjoy Prison or to a person in the prison, on February 8, 2017, a charge he denies.

Cocaine worth €25 was allegedly found when his wallet was searched, Dublin District Court heard. He told gardai today that he did not know it was there after an additional charge was put to him in connection with the seizure.

His practice is based at Conyngham Road, Dublin 8.

In November, the district court had accepted jurisdiction to hear the case and had ordered that his trial would take place in March.

The solicitor, from Co Cork, but who has an address at Wellington House, Clancy Quay, Dublin 8, appeared again at Dublin District Court on Tuesday to face one additional charge for unlawful possession of cocaine on February 8, 2017, contrary to Section Three of the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Garda Finbarr Brennan told Judge Cormac Dunne that he charged Mr McCarthy at the court. The defendant’s reply was, “I did not know it was there,” the court was told. Garda Brennan said it was alleged the value of the cocaine was €25.

Judge Dunne extended the existing bail to the new charge sheet.

Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said in light of the new charge he was asking for the case to be put back to a later date for mention.

Judge Dunne remanded his client to appear again in four weeks to indicate how he will plead to the new charge.

A State solicitor also told Judge Dunne a new trial date was needed as a result of a witness difficulty. Judge Dunne said that could also be confirmed on February 6 when the case and both charges will be listed again for mention.

In a summary of the prosecution evidence given in November, the court heard it would be alleged the defendant entered the prison for a professional visit with an inmate. He went through a search area where he put his belt and wallet on a conveyor belt to be scanned.

It was alleged that as they passed though the scanner a prison officer observed a black object inside the wallet. The prison officer found a bag with a “white powder substance inside”.

It was suspected that it was a controlled drug and gardai were called, the court heard.

The accused agreed to be interviewed at Mountjoy Garda station where he “denied having known possession of the suspected drug or that he intended to pass it to an inmate”.

The substance was found to contain cocaine worth €25, the court had heard.

Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe had told the court the hearing would only take about 15 minutes. There was a single issue which required the the accused to give evidence, he had said. The court has been told there will also be two State witnesses.

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