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Appeal of man convicted over record-breaking drug find delayed as prison escort is late

CourtsBy Sunday World
Perry Wharrie
Perry Wharrie

The case of an Englishman who appealed a thirty-year prison sentence for his role in the biggest drug seizure in the history of the State has been adjourned until next month after his escort from Portlaoise Prison failed to arrive at the court on time.

The Court of Criminal Appeal was due to hear evidence today before a fresh sentencing of Perry Wharrie (56), who was given what his lawyers have described as the “highest sentence in the history of the State” for his role in the record €440 million drugs haul which went awry at Dunlough Bay on the Mizen Peninsula, West Cork on July 2 2007.

In July, the court found that a Cork judge had erred in sentencing Wharrie to thirty years imprisonment.

Wharrie, from Loughton, in Essex, had pleaded not guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply. He was unanimously found guilty by a Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury and sentenced to thirty years imprisonment by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on July 23 2008.

Speaking today on behalf of the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal, Mr Justice McMenamin, who sat with Mr Justice Michael Moriarty and Mr Justice Tony Hunt, said that the escort's failure to deliver Wharrie to the court on time was "not very satisfactory at all." 

"We all have better things to be doing than waiting around," the judge said.

He further stated that, at the last hearing, Wharrie was also late and that at that time the prison authorities were "specifically requested that it not happen again."

"Now it's happened again," he added. "It's not good enough."

The judge adjourned the case until January 11th next year.