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Thursday 19 September 2019

Solicitor to face trial accused of bringing cocaine into Mountjoy

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

A solicitor is facing trial accused of bringing cocaine into an inmate at Mountjoy Prison during a professional visit.

Aonghus McCarthy (32) faces a single count under Section 15c of the Misuse of Drugs Act for conveying a controlled drug into Mountjoy Prison or a person in the prison, on February 8 last, a charge he denies.

Cocaine worth €25 was allegedly found when his wallet was searched, a court heard today.

The solicitor’s practice is based at Conyngham Road, Dublin 8, directly across from the Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) building where he appeared on Friday morning.

His law firm is also among the panel of solicitors on the free legal aid board assigned to represent clients unable to fund their defence. The firm also has a civil practice.

Mr McCarthy, represented by solicitor Michael Hanahoe, appeared before Judge Anthony Halpin at the Dublin District Court on Friday.

Mr McCarthy, from Co Cork, but who has an address at Wellington House, Clancy Quay, Dublin 8, stood silently during the brief hearing.

He had been charged within the last month and had been granted Garda station bail pending his appearance today.

Evidence of the arrest and charging procedure was outlined in a certificate furnished to the judge by court Garda sergeant Eimear Curran.

The sergeant told the Judge Halpin that the Director of Public Prosecutions has directed “summary disposal” meaning the case was suitable to be heard in the district court and not at circuit court level, which can impose lengthier sentences.

In a summary of the prosecution evidence, the sergeant told the court 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.

Gda Sergeant Curran 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 contacted, the court heard.

Gda Sergeant Curran said 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 heard.

Judge Halpin accepted jurisdiction for the case to remain in the district court.

Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said he was seeking a date for a hearing which he said would only take about 15 minutes. He said that there was a single issue which required his client to give evidence.

The court heard that there will also be two State witnesses giving evidence.

Judge Halpin ordered that the trial would take place on March 14 but he agreed to Mr Hanahoe’s request for the case to be listed for mention next Friday to see if an earlier trial date was available.

Mr McCarthy was excused from having to attend the case next week. Before his own hearing he had been acting for his clients in other court cases in the CCJ; afterwards he went back to work representing defendants in the district court.

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