Dealer’s sentence cut in ‘interests of justice’

A man hit with a statutory “double whammy”, according to his lawyers, has had his 17-year prison term reduced to 14 by the Court of Appeal “in the interests of justice”.

Martin McBride, aged 47, of Gimont Avenue, Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, had pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possessing €97,000 worth of cannabis for sale or supply in the city in May 2011. While on bail and after he had signed a guilty plea for the incident, he was caught with €40,000 worth of cannabis for sale or supply in Wexford on November 16, 2011.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin at Cork Circuit Criminal Court sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on November 29, 2011.

Judge Barry Hickson at Wexford Circuit Criminal Court imposed a mandatory minimum term of 10 years imprisonment on October 29, 2013, and made it consecutive to the Cork offence.

Opening an appeal in February, McBride’s barrister, Bernard Condon, told the Court of Appeal his client was hit with a statutory “double whammy”.

Mr Justice Alan Mahon said the only means by which the overall sentence could be reduced, which the Court of Appeal believed to be “unduly harsh”, was to reduce the Cork sentence. The court was satisfied it had the jurisdiction and “has a duty to do so” in the “interests of justice”, he said.

Accordingly, he quashed the original seven-year Cork sentence and imposed a new four-year term.

McBride was left with a sentence of 14 years in total.


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