Awaiting fate | 

Joshua Allen to discover soon whether suspended sentence over drugs possession will be activated

He received a 15 month custodial sentence with 15 months suspended at Cork Circuit Court after he pleaded guilty to possession of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply in September 2018.

Ralph Riegel

Joshua Allen (21), the son of celebrity TV chef Rachel Allen, will discover next April whether a suspended prison sentence imposed for cannabis possession will be activated.

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 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.

Midleton District Court heard that a Garda spotted Allen throw 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.

Allen's suspended sentence activation, because of the Midleton District Court conviction, was listed before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

However, that matter can only be dealt with once Allen's pending appeal against his Midleton District Court conviction is dealt with.

Donal O’Sullivan BL, told the court that Allen was formally appealing a “triggering offence” which had brought him back before the court.

The young man will now have his appeal against his conviction for minor drug possession heard on March 15.

He is on bail pending the appeal which was lodged immediately following his conviction for possession of €280 of cocaine at the Pontoon in Midleton.

Mr 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 contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Last September, Judge Gabbett jailed Allen for two months having convicted him of the offence.

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.

Judge Helen Boyle was told that an adjournment at Cork Circuit Criminal Court of the re-entry of the 2019 case was necessary pending the hearing of the appeal in the minor drugs possession case in March.

Allen’s re-entry case will now be heard on April 26 next at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

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

He was arrested three 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.

In evidence to the court, he denied throwing anything into the bushes that 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 Gardai when they arrived at the scene that night.

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