Friday 18 January 2019

Man's jail sentence for €66k drugs was 'unduly lenient'

Man who already had 57 previous convictions had been sentenced to two years in jail

A Cork man caught with approximately €70,000 worth of cannabis in the space of five months has had his two year jail term increased following an appeal by prosecutors.

Patrick Farrelly (26), from Stag Park, Mitchelstown, had pleaded guilty to possessing €66,000 worth of drugs, mostly cannabis, for sale or supply at his home on November 26, 2016.

Farrelly also pleaded guilty and was sentenced on the same date for possessing €3,692 worth of cannabis five months before he was caught on the more serious charge.

He was sentenced at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to three-and-a-half years' imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended by Judge Gerard O'Brien on May 17, 2017. Both sentences were to run concurrently, which left Farrelly with a net two year jail term.

The Director of Public Prosecutions successfully sought a review of Farrelly's sentence, last Friday, on grounds that it was too lenient and he was accordingly given a new sentence of five years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.

Giving judgment in the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice Alan Mahon said Farrelly was not at home when the drugs were located by gardaí. He was arrested the following morning and made full admissions.

He told gardaí he owed a large drug debt and was holding the drugs for another party.

Counsel for the DPP, Imelda Kelly BL, submitted that the three-and-a-half year headline sentence identified by the Circuit Court judge was "unduly lenient".

Mr Justice Mahon said Farrelly had 57 previous convictions for possession of drugs, burglary, theft, public order and road traffic matters. He was well known to gardaí in the Fermoy area of Cork. He himself was a drug and alcohol addict and was unemployed at the time of the offence.

Mr Justice Mahon said the court was satisfied that the sentence imposed for the more serious offence was "not just very lenient but unduly lenient".

On the basis that the 12-month sentence was to be served concurrently, the sentence for the more serious offence required to be "more severe".

Mr Justice Mahon, who sat with Mr Justice George Birmingham and Mr Justice John Edwards, said the court would resentence Farrelly on the more serious charge to five years' imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.

Again it was backdated to run concurrently with the unaltered 12 month sentence for the less serious charge.