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on bail Joshua Allen appeals two-month prison sentence received after cocaine possession conviction

Judge Alec Gabbett said that the seriousness of the matter was compounded by the fact that Allen has failed to accept responsibility for possession of drugs at the Pontoon


Joshua Allen in 2019

Joshua Allen in 2019

Joshua Allen in 2019

Joshua Allen, the eldest son of well-known chef Rachel Allen, is appealing a two-month prison sentence he has received following his conviction for minor drug possession.

Allen (21) of Ballinamona in Shanagary, Co Cork, is on bail pending the appeal which followed his conviction for possession of €280 of cocaine in east Cork.

He had pleaded not guilty to a charge that on July 10, 2020, at the Pontoon, Midleton, Co Cork, he had unlawfully in his possession a controlled drug, namely cocaine, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

At a sentencing hearing in Midleton District Court today Judge Alec Gabbett said that Mr Allen had been released from Cork Prison in May 2020 in relation to a previous offence and “within five weeks” the possession case arose.

He said that the seriousness of the matter was compounded by the fact that Allen has failed to accept responsibility for possession of drugs at the Pontoon. He stated that the probation report also indicated that Mr Allen was at a “high risk of reoffending”.

Don Ryan, solicitor for the defence, said that his client was making huge strides in his life – particularly over the last number of months.

He told the court that Allen was training five days a week in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) as well as completing two days a week of farmwork.

He has also set up his own stone-carving business after finding that he has a “flair” for such craftsmanship.

Mr Ryan said that Allen had cut ties with anyone involved in drink and drugs.

“He has cut all of that out of his life,” Mr Ryan said.

"He couldn’t be doing what he is doing if that was in his life. He is doing well. He has made huge efforts.

"He is following up with Cuan Mhuire (addiction services) aftercare by Zoom on Saturdays.”

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Mr Ryan emphasised that the “Covid situation was very alive” when Allen was released from prison and that the normal follow-up with the Probation Service wasn’t available.

However, a representative of the Probation Service denied this suggestion, saying over the phone supports were available at that time.

Allen is now engaging in counselling.

Mr Ryan said that Allen was channelling all his energy in to martial arts and stone carving.

“He has done a lot over the last six to nine months. He is getting orders (for his stone carving).”

Judge Gabbett said that Allen put himself in a position of being caught with drugs when he was “out on a licence with a year to serve”.

He said that this wasn’t “wise” and that the Probation Service indicated that Allen had a difficulty with conforming to rules and testing boundaries.

Looking at the stone carving portfolio put together by Allen, Judge Gabbett said that he undoubtedly had a flair for the work.

“It is the first time in his life that he has put himself to some degree of productivity,” Judge Gabbett said.

"Unfortunately for him he finished education at 15.

“He has made certain strides. But I don’t accept that probation services weren’t available. He has an enormous amount of support.”

After Judge Gabbett sentenced Allen to two months in prison, Mr Ryan entered an appeal and the young man was released on bail on his own bond of €400.

Meanwhile, the conviction is a triggering offence in respect of an outstanding suspended sentence over a previous drugs matter.

Allen’s case will now be listed for September 7 next at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. The court will rule on a 15-month suspended sentence which Allen faces from a previous and separate 2019 cannabis conviction.

Allen has six previous convictions for drug-related offences, all arising from a single incident two years ago.

Allen had received a 15-month custodial sentence with 15 months suspended at Circuit Court level in 2020 after he pleaded guilty to possession of over €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply.
The case for which Allen received a two-month sentence for today involved an incident at about 11.25pm on July 10, 2020 in Midleton. He had entered a not guilty plea in relation to this offence and still maintains his innocence.
Detective Garda Kieran Crowley previously told the court that a complaint was made about noise at the Pontoon. He was in a patrol car and went to investigate with other gardaí.
He found about 40 young people gathered at the Pontoon. He saw a man standing with two females. As he approached the young man, who he identified as Allen, walked away and discarded a plastic item in long grass.

Mr Ryan maintained that because of the poor lighting his client was wrongfully identified as having drugs in his possession.
Judge Gabbett said that Det Garda Crowley was a "very experienced garda" who "saw what he saw".

He convicted Allen of the drugs possession following a lengthy hearing earlier this year.

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