Suspended sentence for truck driver caught with €500k of cannabis
A truck driver has been given a six year suspended sentence for importing over half a million euro worth of cannabis herb into Ireland.
Christopher Mulvaney (34) of Watergate Estate, Tallaght pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to unlawfully importing the drugs into Dublin Port on or about August 1, 2009.
The father-of-two also pleaded guilty to possession of half the drugs for sale or supply on August 1, 2009 at Greenogue Business Park, Rathcoole in Dublin.
Detective Garda Damien O’Farrell of the Garda National Drugs Unit said that a premises in the business park had become the focus of garda attention that day.
Gardaí followed a van out of the premises that evening, driven by Mulvaney’s boss, Con Birchall. When the van was stopped and searched, five boxes containing 20 kg of cannabis were found inside. The drugs were valued at €248,714.
A further 22kg worth €267,692 were found in the business premises which Mulvaney admitted to possessing.
In 2011 Birchall of Hartwell Green, Kill, Co Kildare, received a suspended seven-year sentence and community service for his role in the incident.
Det Gda O’Farrell said Mulvaney said he’d picked up 10 boxes of hash in Tamworth in the UK along with legitimate goods and had got the ferry back from Liverpool.
“I’m the messenger,” said Mulvaney, adding that he was to be paid ‘a couple of grand’ for transporting the drugs and that he had never done it before.
He told gardaí that he had been driving the truck for about a week. The company he had been working for had gone into liquidation and he had two young children.
“He and Mr Birchall put five boxes into Mr Birchall’s van,” said the detective. “He was to leave the truck there.”
Mulvaney failed to turn up to an arranged meeting with gardaí in December 2009 and left the country. He was arrested on his return from the United States to Dublin Airport in April of this year.
The detective confirmed that he had never come to garda attention before, had an impeccable employment record as a truck driver before working for Birchall, and came from a ‘very decent’ family.
“He’s not someone I envisage coming to garda attention again,” he said.
Pádraig Dwyer SC, defending, said that his client had been employed by Birchall for only a week when Birchall asked him to do this.
“It was a once-off event,” he said, listing what he said were mitigating circumstances.
Judge Carmel Stewart noted that the minimum sentence for possession of drugs for sale or supply is 10 years, but that the judge has discretion if there are exceptional circumstances.
“Mr Mulvaney hasn’t helped himself by leaving the jurisdiction but did return,” she said.
She noted ‘the disgrace he brought on his family’ and imposed a six-year sentence on the possession charge. She suspended this for six years on his entering a €500 bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
She imposed a four-year sentence on the importation charge, which she suspended for four years on the same terms.
“I hope you’ll make up to your family the harm you’ve done to them,” she said.
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