Joshua Allen, the son of celebrity chef Rachel Allen, has been jailed for 15 months for arranging to have €22,000 worth of cannabis posted to his home.
Sentencing Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said that any suggestion that he would deal with Mr Allen differently to anyone else was offensive and imposed a two-and-a-half year sentence with the second half of it suspended and backdated to November 8 2019.
Defence senior counsel Siobhán Lankford told Cork Circuit Criminal Court: “The operation was amateurish in the extreme. He was bringing the stuff in through the post.”
She said the idea that Allen would test positive for cannabis when he first came before the court in relation to the matter showed the extent of his ‘stupidity’ and he engaged poorly with his probation officer initially. She said that a remand in custody from November 8 to 29 had been salutary and that he had spent all of the time since then in residential treatment at Cuan Mhuire coming directly from there for sentencing.
“He was very young. He has no previous convictions. He is a man of very limited education. He left school at 15 before his Junior Cert. I would ask you to give him a chance. I would ask you to treat him as you would any young man. Requiring this man to go back to prison, the social utility of that is very limited,” Ms Lankford said.
Judge Ó Donnabháin said:
“The idea I would treat him as different to anybody else is quite offensive. He will be treated the same as any other defendant. That is what will happen. That is what has happened until now.
“Ms Lankford wants me to see it as naïve. He got it sent to his home but that does not deal with the facts. He went to London with €2,000. From London he got onto a contact in America and arranged this.”
The judge said that his lack of previous convictions, his co-operation with gardaí, his early signed plea of guilty were all mitigating factors he could now take into consideration.
However, Judge Ó Donnabháin said that if he had sentenced Joshua Allen last November in light of his failure to appreciate the seriousness of his situation, the consequences for the defendant would have been grim.
“He was allowed a second chance and in fairness to him he has done his bit. He has come up to the mark. Importantly, he has convinced his probation officer who was deeply unhappy with him prior to this.”
Allowing for mitigating factors the judge said he had to take into consideration that "his culpability was high".
The son of celebrity chef, Rachel Allen, was then taken back into custody to serve his prison sentence.
The charge on which Allen appeared at Cork Circuit Criminal Court is one of having cannabis worth more than €13,000 for sale or supply. Its actual street value was €22,000. The crime carries a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years unless the judge finds there are exceptional circumstances.
Detective Sergeant Michael O’Halloran said previously that gardaí were contacted by customs officers about a suspected parcel of drugs at the postal sorting office in Portlaoise. A controlled delivery was made at 4.30pm on August 30 2018 to Joshua Allen, 20, with an address at Ballymaloe cookery school, Shanagarry, County Cork. Joshua Allen who was 18 at the time signed for it.
“He was observed sitting outside the shop, opening it and looking into it. He was then intercepted by gardaí,” Det. Sgt. O’Halloran said.
Joshua Allen from Ballinamona, Shanagarry, County Cork, had cocaine for his own use in his wallet and later told gardaí of a small amount of cannabis at his home for his own use too. He was prosecuted on two possession of drugs charges for those.
Joshua Allen told gardaí this was his third or fourth time getting such a delivery of cannabis through the post. He said it was from a lady in California whom he had met in East Cork. Rather than paying her by Western Union, which he felt could be traced, he travelled to London to pay her €2,000.