Boxer’s guilty plea over illegal tobacco

One of the biggest figures in Irish boxing signed a plea of guilty yesterday to a charge of having unstamped tobacco products for sale or delivery in Cork.

Boxer’s guilty plea over illegal tobacco

Kieran Joyce, aged 54, appeared at Cork District Court yesterday facing a charge of having the cigarettes in a vehicle at Onslow Gardens, Commons Road, Cork, on September 10 last year.

Inspector Adrian Gamble said the DPP had directed trial by indictment on the charge.

It would have required preparation of a book of evidence, but defence solicitor Joseph Cuthbert said that would not be necessary as the accused was prepared to enter a signed plea of guilty to the charge.

As a result, Judge Aingil Ní Chondúin sent the case against Joyce forward for sentencing at Cork Circuit Criminal Court on May 8. Joyce was remanded on bail in the case.

However, he was remanded in custody last month until April 4 on a similar charge to which he pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Joyce pleaded guilty to having the cigarettes and tobacco at his home at Ardán na Mara, Youghal, Co Cork, on February 25, 2015.

Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said, last month, the biggest factor weighing on his mind was the fact that Joyce had previous convictions for the same offence.

Customs officer Georgina O’Doherty testified in February that Joyce was fined various amounts up to over €5,000 for offences committed in 1997, 2000, and 2002.

The fourth conviction was recorded in 2004 and he was fined €1,000 and given a six-month suspended sentence.

Character witness Gerry O’Mahony, president of the Munster Council of the amateur boxing association, said of Joyce: “He is possibly one of the best boxers Ireland has produced.”

Other character evidence was put before Judge Ó Donnabháin that Joyce had a huge commitment to coaching and supporting youngsters in boxing and that he made an enormous contribution to society in that respect.

The judge repeated the previous convictions for the same offence made custody unavoidable.

He decided to remand the accused in custody until April 4 for sentencing on that date.

Defence barrister Dermot Sheehan said the amount of revenue lost to the State by the cigarettes and tobacco which Joyce had available for sale in February 2015 was €6,000.

Mr Sheehan said Joyce represented Ireland internationally as well as being a very successful figure nationally.

Joyce had told Cork Circuit Criminal Court the offence, two years ago, was a moment of madness, stupidity, and it would not happen again.

Ms O’Doherty, customs officer, said she had obtained a warrant to search the home of the accused in February 2014 and the cigarettes were later found at his home and at a neighbouring property.

Meanwhile, no evidence was presented yesterday on the fresh charge in relation to the incident at Onslow Gardens last September.

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