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Appeal dismissed Court 'unimpressed' with dad who made 'commercial decision' to store €700k in drugs

Ballyfermot man Darren King (35) was appealing against the severity of his seven-year sentence

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Darren King

Darren King

Darren King

The Court of Appeal has said a father-of-five "made a commercial decision" to store €700,000 worth of drugs and that the court was "unimpressed" with his arguments over the severity of his seven-year sentence.

Darren King (35) of Cole Park Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, was imprisoned after he pleaded guilty to having cocaine for sale or supply at locations on Ballyfermot Road, Cole Park Road and at his home on April 23, 2019.

He later appealed the severity of the sentence handed down by Judge Pauline Codd at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. 

Seamus Clarke SC, for King, told the Court of Appeal on Thursday that “by his own admission” his client had been involved in “the storing of a large amount of cannabis and cocaine” in a vehicle parked outside his home. 

“But he was not one of these people who commonly comes before the court described as a courier,” he added. 

Acknowledging that the judge had already discounted his client’s sentence by five years, from a headline term of 12 years, Mr Clarke said there were other mitigating factors which would have allowed the judge to go the “extra mile” and reduce it even further.

Counsel said his client was a former bus driver who was off sick with a back injury at the time of the offending and who was at a “moderate risk” of reoffending.

A co-accused of King’s, Mr Clarke added, had been given a wholly suspended sentence.  

Eoghan Cole BL, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, said there had been no error in principle in sentence handed down by Judge Codd.

The offending, Mr Cole said, “involved the distribution of a large amount of drugs for sale or for profit”.

The sentence imposed had contained a “significant deterrent element” and “was well within bounds”, he added.

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Dismissing the appeal,  Mr Justice John Edwards, sitting with Mr Justice George Birmingham, presiding, and Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy, said the court agreed with the sentencing judge’s assessment that the appellant had been “actively storing and distributing drugs”.

“We are not impressed by the appellant’s arguments,” Mr Justice Edwards said, adding that King had made a “commercial” decision to store the drugs to help pay off his debts. 

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