'aimless life' | 

Joshua Allen ‘given every chance’ says judge as he’s sent back to jail for cocaine conviction

The judge added the ‘penny has not dropped' for the son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen

Joshua Allen

Olivia KelleherIndependent.ie

Joshua Allen, the eldest son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, has been sent back to prison for seven months for two drugs offences with the sentencing judge warning that the "penny has not dropped" for the 22-year-old

Allen, of Ballinamona, Shanagarry, Co Cork, appeared before Cork Circuit Criminal Court last Monday where he was appealing a two-month sentence he received after he was convicted of being in possession of €280 worth of cocaine in July 2020.

That offence occurred just five weeks after Allen was released from custody having been found to be in possession of €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply in August 2018.

Allen had received a 30-month sentence, with half of it suspended by a judge in February 2020. However, his re-offending was a triggering offence and he came before the court last Monday in order for Judge Sarah Berkeley to determine whether he should go back to prison.

She remanded Allen in custody until today and said she was particularly concerned about two drug driving cases facing him which involved incidents in Dungarvan and Midleton.

Having considered reports relating to Allen, Judge Berkeley said he had been given every opportunity to turn his life around. She described cocaine as being a serious drug but stressed that Allen had been given every chance to stop using it.

"Cocaine is a serious drug and has taken over from cannabis. The country is awash with it,” said Judge Berkeley, adding that a custodial sentence was required for the triggering offence of possession of cocaine.

Judge Berkeley sentenced Allen to 12 months in prison but suspended the last five months on condition that he keep the peace and be of good behaviour in the 12 months after he is released from custody.

He was also ordered to comply with the directions of the probation and welfare service post-release including providing random urine samples to show he was drug-free.

Judge Berkeley noted that Allen had the advantage of coming from a supportive family background.

Earlier this week, defence barrister Donal O'Sullivan said his client vehemently denied both drug driving allegations. He stated that Allen had turned his life around via work and was training in Mixed Martial Arts five to six times a week.

Allen's grandmother, acclaimed chef Darina Allen, had also written a letter to the court to say she believed her grandson had turned a corner. She appealed for leniency in the case.

She stated that in late 2020 Allen discovered MMA and boxing, which had given him a new focus.

Mrs Allen said said her grandson also works on the family farm in Ballymaloe and is willing to anything that is required of him.

“I know he has made mistakes but he realises all his troubles have been caused by issues with drugs and alcohol. He has disassociated himself from his former associates and he is determined to turn his life around,” said Mrs Allen.

“He has told me how much he regrets his actions and with the benefit of hindsight he is acutely aware of the folly of his ways. He is determined to continue on the path he is now on."

At the hearing last Monday, Judge Berkeley asked defence barrister Donal O'Sullivan why Allen had left school at the age of 15. Mr O'Sullivan said the teenager had set his own boundaries and had meandered without purpose for some time.

Mr O'Sullivan said his client had been immature but was now starting to make improvements in his life.

"He had an aimless life from the age of 15 to 20. He is no longer aimless and loves his sport and working. He is beginning to mature and the maturing process takes time. But he has matured and grown up.”

Allen has been submitting urine samples to his GP for testing since September 2021 and has received eight clear tests to date.

In making her decision, Judge Berkeley said she had a number of concerns including the fact that Allen had reoffended just six weeks after being released from prison. She also said the urine samples given by Mr Allen to his doctor were of limited value to the court as they were not randomly taken.

She said Allen had also been given the opportunity to avail of residential drug treatment in Cuan Mhuire in Kildare for three months.

Judge Berkeley added that the treatment course, which began on November 2019 when Allen was in jail on remand, was then incorporated into Judge Sean O’Donnabhain’s sentence imposed in February 2020. Allen was released from prison on June 3, 2020, having effectively spent four months in jail.

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