Joseph Daly, aged 44, of Bexley, Kent, was jailed for 25 years by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin in July 2008, having being found guilty of possession for sale or supply of cocaine valued at €440 million by a Cork Circuit Criminal Court jury.
The drugs were recovered from the sea off Dunlough Bay outside Goleen, Co Cork, on July 2, 2007.
Yesterday, the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal, comprised of Mr Justice Liam McKechnie, presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Mr Justice Daniel O’Keeffe, dismissed Daly’s appeal against the severity of his sentence.
Patrick McCarthy SC for Daly argued that Judge Ó Donnabháin had erred in principle by imposing an excessive sentence and that he failed to distinguish the role played in the operation by his client.
Mr McCarthy said evidence was given that Daly was not a prime mover in the drug run as he lacked the finances to bring drugs from the Caribbean to Ireland.
The DPP opposed the appeal and argued the sentence should remain intact.
While the 25-year prison term could be deemed harsh, Mr Justice McKechnie said that in the circumstances the trial judge was entitled to impose “a grave sentence”, for what was “a grave crime”.
The judge added that while Daly and his co-accused may not have been at the top of the criminal gang behind the operation they “knew at all times what was going on”, and were “very much willing lieutenants”.