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Security guard caught with €2.3m worth of cannabis has jail term cut on appeal

Garda David Taylor shows drugs worth an estimated €2.5 million
Garda David Taylor shows drugs worth an estimated €2.5 million

A security guard caught with €2.3 million worth of cannabis has had his jail term cut on appeal.

Brendan Mangan (43), with an address at Wellington Walk, Mornington Park, Co Meath, had pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to possession of €2.3 million worth of cannabis for sale or supply at two locations in the capital on March 27 2014.

He was sentenced to six-and-a-half years imprisonment by Judge Martin Nolan on April 23 2015.

Mangan, who was described as being “gullible and “easily lead”, had the final 15 months of his sentence suspended today following a successful appeal.

Mr Justice George Birmingham said gardaí had intercepted Mangan in a car on the date in question and half-a-million euro worth of cannabis was found.

A follow up search of the dwelling at Tonlegee Road, in Coolock, in which Mangan was the tenant resulted in the seizure of €1.8 million worth of the drug.

Mr Justice Birmingham said Mangan had taken the tenancy of the dwelling some three months earlier having been approached when he was 'stuck for a place' to live, in his words.

Those who approached him said they would pay the rent and, in return, packages would be coming to the house.

During garda interviews, Mangan expressed himself in fear of those with whom he was dealing, the judge said.

The tenancy application as well as the requisite documentation was processed in his name which was indicative of a lack of guile or sophistication, Mr Justice Birmingham said.

The sentencing judge accepted that Mangan was at one of the lowest rungs in the ladder and that 'perfect mitigation' was present.

Mangan, who had been employed in the construction sector and more recently in security, had no relevant previous convictions and was the separated father of a 16-year-old son.

Mr Justice Birmingham said the question of access to his son was canvassed as having been a factor in his desire to secure appropriate accommodation.

His barrister, Michael Bowman SC, did not take issue with the appropriateness of a six-and-a-half year sentence but submitted that he ought not to have been required to serve the whole term.

Given the accepted suggestion that Mangan was “gullible” and “easily lead”, there should have been mechanisms in the sentence to prevent him from being lead into further unlawful conduct, Mr Bowman submitted.

The Court of Appeal agreed and found it would have been appropriate to suspend a limited portion of the sentence so that when it was served there would be “an incentive to become and remain law abiding”.

Accordingly, Mr Justice Birmingham, who sat with Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and Mr Justice Alan Mahon, suspended the final 15 months of Mangan's six-and-a-half year sentence.

Mangan was required to enter into his own bond of €100 to keep the peace and be of good behaviour for the suspended period of his sentence.

When asked if he undertook to be so bound he said: “I do, yeah”.