D.P.P.- v- Michael Tanner, [2006] IECCA 151 (2006)

Docket Number:12/06
Judge:Kearns J.


Hanna J.



MICHAEL TANNER APPLICANTJUDGMENT of the Court delivered by Mr. Justice Kearns on the 30th day of November, 2006

On the 8th November, 2005, the applicant, together with another man, James Tobin, was arraigned on three accounts of unlawful possession of controlled drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1977 as amended by the Criminal Justice Act, 1999. James Tobin entered a guilty plea to the charges. The applicant having pleaded not guilty, his trial proceeded at Cork Circuit Criminal Court between the 8th and 15th of November, 2005, at the conclusion of which the applicant was found guilty by the jury on all three counts. On the 15th December, 2005, a sentence of fifteen years was imposed on one count, and the other remaining counts were taken into account by the learned trial judge when passing sentence.

As the essential point raised in this appeal relates to the legal requirements of possession, it is important to set out the facts in some detail.

On 3rd May, 2003, the applicant rented a designated car parking space (number 48) at Block B, South Terrace Court, Cork for a period of three months. All his dealings in relation to the rental of this designated car parking space, both then and subsequently, were with Ms. Denise Finzer, the complex manager. In renting the space, the applicant used a false name and always paid cash, renewing the rental in September, January and April in consecutive rental periods extending into 2004.

The applicant was clearly identified as the person who rented the space in question during the course of the trial by Ms. Finzer, who recognised him from having met him on at least five separate occasions.

On the 3rd June, 2004, gardaí found drugs consisting of cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy in the boot of a Ford Escort motorcar, registration number 93 C 2420, which was parked in the designated space (number 48) in Block B of South Terrace Court. The value of the drugs recovered was just under 500,000. When the vehicle was being towed away, it was noted that it was covered in dust, indicating that it had been parked for some considerable time in the designated space.

As already noted, the applicant gave a false name (Joseph Hogan) when renting this space and furnished no address, simply furnishing a contact mobile telephone number. Under the rental arrangements, he received a swipe card which allowed admission into the car park. This swipe card was subsequently found in a car owed by the applicant which was parked outside his house at Inchydoney. The circumstances of this find will be mentioned shortly.

On the 2nd June, 2004, a car belonging to James Tobin was searched and the key to the car in Block B was...

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