'The penny has not dropped': Joshua Allen jailed for seven months

Defence barrister said at sentencing hearing on Friday that while the defendant had been adamant last week that no drugs would be found in his system in relation to a suspected drug-driving incident in Dungarvan last month, 'that is not correct' 
'The penny has not dropped': Joshua Allen jailed for seven months

Joshua Allen. File picture: Cork Courts Limited

Joshua Allen has been sent back to prison to commence a sentence of seven months arising out of two drugs cases as the judge said of the accused: “It appears that the penny has not dropped.” 

The young man’s barrister, Donal O’Sullivan, said the young man wanted to put his hands up about a very recent matter of suspected drug-driving in Dungarvan last month.

Mr O’Sullivan BL said his instructions on Monday were that no charge had yet been brought in relation to that driving incident but that Joshua Allen was adamant he would be denying the charge.

However, Mr O’Sullivan said at the outset of the sentencing hearing on Friday that while the defendant had been adamant last week that no drugs would be found in his system in relation to the Dungarvan driving incident, “that is not correct”. 

“He had taken cannabis at a music festival four or five days earlier,” Mr O’Sullivan said, adding this drug could still have been in the young man’s system.

Driving matter

Judge Sarah Berkeley said he was not obliged to say this as the Dungarvan driving matter was not before any court. Mr O’Sullivan said the young man wanted to put his hands up in relation to it.

Mr O’Sullivan said the important thing was that the accused was out of trouble for a long time in the sense that any recent matter was of drug use which caused himself harm rather than the more serious issue of dealing a drug which damaged society.

The 22-year-old was appealing a two-month sentence for having cocaine for his own use and a 15-month sentence — that had been suspended — for dealing cannabis. He faced a maximum possible term of 17 months on Friday.

Judge Berkeley said in all the circumstances she was imposing an overall sentence of 12 months and suspending the last five months of that sentence on condition he keeps the peace for a period of 12 months post-release.

Judge Berkeley said: 

He has always had a supportive family… He has had every support available to him… He has been given every chance to desist.

“People are giving him every support. People are helping him in every walk of his life.” 

Treatment centre

The judge expressed concern that the accused tested positive for cannabis on his admission to Cuan Mhuire treatment centre even though he was coming from prison at the time.

Judge Berkeley said she was also struggling with the fact that within six weeks of release from prison — and given the support he had from Cuan Mhuire — he went on to get the conviction for having cocaine for his own use.

Joshua Allen of Ballynamona in Shanagarry, Co Cork, was appealing his two-month sentence for having €280 worth of cocaine on July 10, 2020, at the Pontoon, Midleton, Co Cork.

Originally in the circuit court, he was sentenced to 30 months with half of it suspended for arranging postage of €22,000 worth of cannabis to himself.

The re-entry of the 15-month portion of the sentence, which was suspended, was triggered by the new sentence of two months imposed on him for having the small quantity of cocaine since his release from jail.

Back in March 2020, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin (now retired) imposed a two-and-a-half year sentence, with the second half of it suspended and backdated to November 8, 2019, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

In respect of the circuit court matter, a controlled delivery was made at 4.30pm on August 30, 2018, to Joshua Allen, at Ballymaloe cookery school, Shanagarry, Co Cork, and he pleaded guilty to having the cannabis for sale or supply.

Letter from Darina Allen

On Monday, he was remanded in custody for sentencing on Friday for the judge to consider the issues in the case. On Monday, the young man’s grandmother Darina Allen wrote a letter to the court stating the young man’s work on the farm at Ballymaloe and training in MMA had helped him turn his life around.

Darina Allen’s letter to the judge was read by defence barrister Donal O’Sullivan at Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

In it she said: “In my opinion, Joshua has turned a corner. In late 2020, he discovered boxing and mixed martial arts, for which, according to his local trainer, he has a natural talent. The discipline of intensive training five to six times a week has had a positive effect and given him a real focus.

Josh knows that he has made many mistakes and he has told me that he realises all his troubles have been caused by the misuse of drugs and alcohol. He has disassociated himself from his former contacts and is determined to turn his life around.

“He has told me how much he regrets his actions and with the benefit of hindsight, he is acutely aware of the folly of his ways and he tells me is determined to continue on the path that he is now on.” 

The young man is also engaged in stone-carving and is actively trying to start a business in this area, Mr O’Sullivan said.

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