A man who was allegedly caught picking up a bag containing €60,000 worth of cannabis at farmland in Cork eight years ago and later emigrated to Australia was formally arrested and charged for the first time today.
Detective Garda Michael O’Halloran testified that he arrested the defendant outside Cork District Court today at 10.25 a.m. and charged him with three counts related to drugs possession and drugs supply. He made no reply to the charges.
“My application is for him to be remanded in custody. The background to this incident is that on July 29, 2012 a surveillance operation was in place in relation to a black bag containing 10kgs of cannabis resin at Watergrasshill at farmland.
“It is alleged that Karl Humphreys arrived and conducted a search and retrieved a bag and was subsequently arrested. I feel he won’t stand trial. He left the jurisdiction in December 2012 and only recently returned,” Det. Garda O’Halloran said.
The detective said an extradition warrant was issued for the arrest of Karl Humphreys in 2015 but the defendant left for Australia before that warrant was executed.
Today the 37-year-old was charged with possessing cannabis resin, having the drug for sale or supply and having more than €13,000 worth of the drug for sale or supply at Ardnageehy East, Watergrasshill, County Cork.
The detective said: “The evidence against Karl Humphreys is very strong. Our fear is that if given bail he won’t stand trial in this matter. The value of the drugs at the time was €60,000.
"He never contacted Anglesea Street despite knowing we were seeking him. He returned to the jurisdiction not to face these charges but in different circumstances.”
Diarmuid Kelleher, solicitor, who represented the accused on free legal aid, said the defendant called to Togher garda station in relation to this matter within days of returning to Cork recently and turned up at Cork District Court today for the purpose of being charged.
He said the defendant left Cork at a time when no charges had been brought against him and was still presumed innocent now.
Mr Kelleher said the defendant turning up to meet gardaí was not indicative of a man trying to evade justice.
He said the accused would be pleading not guilty and he added that a co-accused who was put on trial in the case was found not guilty previously.
“This man made all the running. He has shown total bona fides. He would surrender his passport,” Mr Kelleher said.
Judge Olann Kelleher said he would grant bail to Karl Humphreys, 37, and the bail conditions required him to reside at his family home at Curraheen Drive, Bishopstown, Cork, keep a curfew to be there nightly between 11pm and 6am., surrender his passport and not apply for a new one, and sign daily at Togher garda station.
Sergeant John Kelleher said the Director of Public Prosecutions had directed trial by indictment at Cork Circuit Criminal Court or the entering of a signed plea of guilty for sentencing at the circuit court.
Mr Kelleher, solicitor, said, “As you probably guessed (from what was said in the bail application) there won’t be a signed plea, and a book of evidence will be required.”
Judge Kelleher adjourned the case until September 23 at Cork District Court.