adjourned | 

Joshua Allen remanded in custody for five days as he awaits cocaine sentence

Joshua Allen, the son of celebrity TV chef Rachel Allen, was caught with cocaine just five weeks after being released early for possession of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis
Joshua Allen. Picture: Cork Courts Limited

Joshua Allen. Picture: Cork Courts Limited

Ralph Riegel

Joshua Allen, the son of celebrity TV chef Rachel Allen, has been remanded to prison for five days after he was caught with cocaine just five weeks after being released early from a sentence imposed for possession of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis.

Allen (22) appeared before Judge Sarah Berkeley at Cork Circuit Criminal Court in relation to two separate drugs matters.

Judge Berkeley, after hearing submissions in relation to both matters, decided to adjourn dealing with the issues involved until Friday next, July 1.

She indicated she wanted to consider all expert reports and files in relation to the matters before finalising them.

Allen is appealing the severity of a sentence imposed by the district court for possession of €280 worth of cocaine in July 2020.

However, that incident occurred just five weeks after Allen was released early from a sentence imposed for possession for sale or supply of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis.

A portion of the cannabis sentence was suspended - and the cocaine conviction could serve as a 'triggering' matter, with the suspended portion of the earlier sentence being reactivated.

This is now the second issue before the court.

Judge Berkeley said she would deal with both matters on July 1.

“I will remand him [Allen] in custody until Friday. I will deal with the matter then,” she said.

"I want to read everything on file about him."

The judge said she also wanted to clarify issues surrounding two other pending cases involving alleged Road Traffic Act matters.

Both are vehemently denied by Allen and will be contested if they arrive before the court.

Defence counsel Donal O'Sullivan BL said he was urging the court to deal with both the appeal and suspended sentence matters on a non-custodial basis.

He argued that the two-month sentence imposed for the cocaine possession be entirely suspended and that the court not reactivate the suspended portion of the earlier cannabis sentence.

Mr O'Sullivan said his client had changed his life and was now deeply involved in sport via mixed martial arts.

He said the young man had learned his lesson and was pursuing positive, healthy life choices.

The young man - who is a great grandson of Ballymaloe founder, the late Myrtle Allen, and a grandson of TV chef Darina Allen - received a 15-month custodial sentence with 15 months suspended at Cork Circuit Court three years ago after he pleaded guilty to possession of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply in September 2018.

However, he was convicted last year before Midleton District Court, in a separate and unrelated matter, of possession of €280 worth of cocaine on July 20, 2020.

In sentencing him last September, Judge Alec Gabbett noted that the cocaine matter arose just five weeks after the young man had been released from custody on the earlier cannabis possession charge.

Judge Gabbett imposed a two-month prison sentence for the cocaine possession.

Cork Circuit Court was told that Allen's grandmother, Darina Allen, was convinced her grandson had a new focus in his life and appealed to the court to give him a chance.

The 22 year old is now training daily as part of his MMA routine and is also working on the Ballymaloe farm.

“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," she wrote.

“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.”

The TV chef urged the court to offer him a chance to prove that he has turned his life around.

Judge Berkeley was told that multiple drug analysis tests conducted on the young man over the past year have all proved to be clear.

Last year, Midleton District Court heard that a Garda spotted Allen throwing an item into a bush when officers attended an outdoor gathering of youngsters in July 2020 - and the cocaine was located at the precise spot involved.

The question of Allen's suspended sentence activation, because of the Midleton District Court conviction, was listed before Cork Circuit Criminal Court earlier this year and adjourned until today.

The young man dropped an appeal against his Midleton District Court conviction last March - but proceeded with a challenge to the severity of the sentence imposed.

Cork Circuit Criminal Court was to deal with both the suspended sentence issue over the cannabis possession and the challenge to the severity of the cocaine possession sentence.

Allen 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, to the value of €280, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Last September, Judge Gabbett jailed Allen for two months, having convicted him of the offence following a day-long hearing.

Judge Gabbet noted that Allen had been released from Cork Prison in May 2020 in relation to a previous cannabis offence and “within five weeks” the cocaine possession case arose.

The Midleton District Court conviction represents a so-called 'triggering offence' in respect of an outstanding suspended sentence over the previous cannabis matter.

The court will now rule on a 15-month suspended sentence which Allen faced from a previous and separate 2019 cannabis conviction.

He was arrested almost four years ago after customs officers at Portlaoise Mail Centre became suspicious about a package addressed to Joshua Allen at Ballymaloe Cookery School which was 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.

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".

Allen had last year vehemently denied the Midleton cocaine possession charge.

The young man is now involved in mixed martial arts (MMA) and has been helping raise funds for a number of local charities.

In evidence to Midleton District Court, he denied throwing anything into the bushes on the night when gardaí approached a group of youths following a noise complaint.

"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]," he said.

"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 in Midleton.

Allen had insisted that whatever drugs gardaí found in Midleton that night were not his.


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