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Drugs case Chef Rachel Allen's son Joshua threw €280 worth of cocaine into bush, court finds

The 21- year-old was found to have been in possession of cocaine by Judge Alec Gabbett after a lengthy hearing at Midleton District Court

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Joshua Allen pictured leaving Midleton District Court, Cork.

Joshua Allen pictured leaving Midleton District Court, Cork.

Joshua Allen pictured leaving Midleton District Court, Cork.

Joshua Allen, son of television chef and author Rachel Allen, was in possession of €280 of cocaine which he threw into a bush when confronted by a Garda at an outdoor party last summer, a judge has found.

The 21- year-old, who is a great grandson of Ballymaloe founder, the late Myrtle Allen, was found to have been in possession of cocaine by Judge Alec Gabbett after a lengthy hearing at Midleton District Court.

Judge Gabbett adjourned the matter to allow for a Probation and Welfare Service report on July 8.

He was told Joshua Allen had six previous convictions, all for drug offences arising from a single incident two years ago.

Inspector Tony O'Sullivan said any conviction recorded in the matter will be a triggering offence in respect of an outstanding suspended sentence over a previous drugs matter.

Judge Gabbett said he wanted expert reports before he finalised a conviction and noted the defendant's young age and that he had been making efforts to address his issues.

The court will have to rule in July on a 15-month suspended sentence which Mr Allen faces from a 2019 cannabis conviction.

Mr Allen of Ballinamona, Shanagarry, Co Cork, faced a charge of unlawful possession of a controlled drug, namely cocaine, on July 10, 2020, at the Pontoon, Midleton, Co Cork.

The charge was brought contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act and involved simple possession.

Mr Allen was charged with possession of the €280 of cocaine in Midleton just one month after being released early from a 15-month prison term imposed for a drugs offence.

In February 2020, Joshua was jailed for 15 months, with 15 months suspended, after he pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possession for sale or supply of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis.

He was arrested two years ago after customs officers at Portlaoise Mail Centre became suspicious about a package addressed to him, mailed from the United States.

That sentence was imposed after he had attended a three month term at a residential treatment centre for drug use in 2019.

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He received the 15 month term after the court was told he was "naive" and "amateurish" with the young man being warned he initially faced the case with "stupidity".

Inspector O'Sullivan said the cocaine possession charge arose out of a Garda response to a noise complaint received in Midleton on July 10 last year.

Detective Garda Kieran Crowley said he went to an area known as the Pontoon and, having gone through a fence, went to an open area where around 40 youths had gathered.

He said he spotted a male with two young females and the male immediately went to walk away from him.

"It was just a hunch - it was something out of the ordinary," he said.

Det Garda Crowley said he had his torch illuminated and spotted the male - he later discovered it was Joshua Allen - throw something into the undergrowth.

"I saw the male walking away from the two females. It was dark. But I know what I saw. I saw the male throw something away."

He challenged Joshua about what had just been thrown away.

"I said I saw you throw something away and he denied it."

Det Garda Crowley later searched the area of undergrowth and found a plastic sealer bag filled with a white powder.

"I believed it to be cocaine. It was (found) in the long grass. When I found the item it was the only item in that area."

Tests later confirmed the powder was cocaine.

Det Garda Crowley said he remained "rooted to the spot" where he saw the item being thrown away to ensure the area was marked and noted.

In a statement made to Gardaí on July 11, Mr Allen denied throwing anything away or ever having the plastic bag.

When asked if his fingerprints might be found on the plastic envelope, Mr Allen said: "Couldn't be - I was never in possession (of that) tonight."

In evidence to the court, Mr Allen denied throwing anything into the bushes that night.

"With all due respect, you are making a mistake. It is a big mistake. It affects me and my family a lot. It is impossible (that I dropped anything)."

"If I wanted to get rid of drugs I probably would have put them down my pants."

He insisted it was simply his "first instinct" to walk away from the Gardaí when they arrived at the scene that night.

Mr Allen insisted he had only had three beers that night.

Det Garda Crowley said the young man was polite and co-operative on the night.

"He was calm and very pleasant to deal with."

Defence solicitor, Don Ryan, introduced evidence from engineer Philip O'Doherty as to the darkness of the area involved that night, arguing that lighting conditions were such that it was impossible to accurately see anything in detail.

He also challenged why fingerprint tests were not conducted on the plastic bag in light of Mr Allen's vehement denials.

Judge Gabbett said the case boiled down to credibility and ruled for the prosecution.

He said he was satisfied from the evidence of the experienced detective to find Mr Allen was in possession that night and that he threw the plastic bag containing cocaine into the bush.

The young man is the eldest son of TV chef and author, Rachel Allen, and her husband, Isaac, both of whom are closely associated with Ireland's culinary industry and Ballymaloe Cookery School.

He is also the grandson of Darina Allen and the great-grandson of the late Ballymaloe founder, Myrtle Allen.

Ballymaloe Cookery Schools ranks as one of Europe's foremost culinary training establishments.

Ballymaloe House under the late Myrtle Allen became one of Ireland's best known fine dining centres and was one of the first premises in Ireland to secure a Michelin Star in the 1970s.

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