The jury in Ireland’s biggest ever drugs trial were sent home until Monday and warned by the trial judge today to avoid reading media reports like the plague.
As the trial related to the seizure of €440m worth of cocaine went into its ninth day Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin gave the nine men and three women of the jury strict guidelines on their dealings with the case.
Three Englishmen, Perry Wharrie, aged 48, of 60 Pyrles Lane, Essex, England, Joseph Daly, aged 41 from 9 Carrisbrook Avenue, Bexley, Kent, and Martin Wanden, aged 45, of no fixed abode, all deny the charges of possessing cocaine, possessing it with intent to sell or supply, and having it for sale or supply when its street value exceeded €13,000 on July 2 2007 at Dunlough Bay, Mizen, Goleen, Co Cork.
Evidence has been presented that a semi-submerged rigid inflatable boat was found in Dunlough Bay on that date as were 62 bales of cocaine that were found floating in the water, most of them close to where the RIB was found.
Detailed evidence was given today by witnesses from England on the registration and insurance of three Land Rovers – green, blue and red – all of which changed ownership between March 20 and 24 2007 and had been registered to their previous owners between November 3 and 16 2006.
Sian Wynne-Dukes of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea testified that the blue and red Land Rovers were registered to Paul Young and the address given was 9 Carrisbrook Avenue, Bexley, Kent.
Ian Hunter, director of operations at Mastercover Insurance Ltd. said in respect of the insurance for the blue Land Rover that the deposit of £113 was paid by credit card in the name of Joseph Daly and subsequent direct debits came from a Halifax bank account also in the name of Joseph Daly.
After this evidence was presented, Judge Ó Donnabháin sent the jury away until Monday because of a legal issue to be dealt with in their absence.
“The case will be ready hopefully on Monday. You are in the middle of the case. You and you alone decide the case. Avoid like the plague any press coverage. Ignore what the press do. They are not doing your job – some of them might want to do your job. You have got to keep yourself straight.
“You are going to give your decision on what you heard in court, not what you heard in work or in the pub,” the judge told them.