Man convicted of €1.9m cannabis possession sees sentence reduced

A Dublin man has had the amount of jail time he will serve for the possession of nearly €2m worth of cannabis resin reduced by two years after a successful appeal.

In May 2011 Stephen Grant (41), with a last address at Neilstown Avenue, Clondaklin, was jailed for eight years by Judge Martin Nolan having pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to the possession of cannabis worth €1,976,244.

Grant had pleaded guilty to the possession of drugs for sale or supply at a truck wash in Greenogue, Rathcoole on September 1, 2009.

There was evidence that a surveillance operation was carried out at Rathcoole where a white van was seen going into Greenogue Industrial estate. Gardai moved in on this van, which was being driven in front of another vehicle.

At the sentence hearing it was submitted that Grant had problems with drug addiction and had made “serious efforts to rehabilitate himself”.

Counsel for Grant, Mr Padraig Dwyer SC, today submitted that insufficient weight had been given to the mitigating factors in the case, and to the possibility of rehabilitation in particular, while excessive weight was given to the aggravating factors.

The mitigating factors included Grant’s early plea of guilty, his previous contribution to his community, the fact that he was deemed unlikely to commit further offences and his significant efforts toward rehabilitation.

Presiding judge Mr Justice Frank Clarke said the court would allow the appeal, but would increase the sentence imposed on Grant from eight to ten years while suspending the final four years of that sentence.

He said the court found this would take in to account the mitigating factors in the case and properly reflect a rehabilitative element particularly having regard to Grant’s efforts at rehabilitation.

Mr Justice Clarke said this would in effect give Grant an opportunity, if he continues with his progress, to be released from prison earlier but exposed him to serious consequences if he offended further.

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