Dublin man possessed €143k worth of drugs to sell on dark web

CourtsBy Sunday World
Neil Mannion
Neil Mannion

A dark net drug dealer who was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in prison must wait to find out if the court of appeal will reduce his sentence.

Neil Mannion, (35), of Mount Drummond Avenue, Harold's Cross, Dublin pleaded guilty last December to possession of €143,000 worth of LSD, amphetamine and cannabis resin with intent to sell or supply at Bank House Business Centre, South Circular Road on November 5, 2014.

He was selling the drugs on the dark net, a part of the internet that has been likened to an online marketplace.

At the Court of Appeal today, his barrister Michael Bowman SC pointed out that Mannion's co-accused, who was charged with the same crime, received a sentence of only three years.

He said his client had pleaded guilty and readily admitted to his role as the main beneficiary of the operation.

He also explained to gardai how the operation was run, thus "demystifying" the dark net, which had previously been a puzzle to investigators.

He accepted that Mr Mannion, as the organiser of the operation, deserved a harsher sentence, but he questioned why it should be more than twice that received by his co-accused.

He added that the sentence would send out a message that suspects who are honest and helpful to gardai could end up facing harsher rather than more lenient sentencing.

The three-judge court, presided over by Mr Justice George Birmingham, Mr Justice John Edwards and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, said it could not decide the matter immediately and reserved judgment, saying a ruling will be made "in the coming weeks".

Eoin Reynolds