DPP v Boyle
 IECA 16
THE COURT OF APPEAL
Finlay Geoghegan J.
10/2013 - Finlay Geoghegan Peart Mahon - Court of Appeal - 13/11/2014 - 2014 13 3546 2014 IECA 16
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S15(A)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S27(3B)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S27(3C)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S27(3D)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S15(B)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S27(3D)(B)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S27(3D)(A)
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S27(3B)(D)
Criminal law - Appeal against severity of sentence - Drugs offences - Misuse of Drugs Act 1977 - Sentencing approach of trial judge - Whether error of principle - Ten year minimum sentence - Where sentence of not less than ten years would be unjust in all the circumstances
This is an appeal by the appellant against the severity of a sentence of ten years with three years suspended imposed on him on the 20th July, 2010, in respect of an offence contrary to s. 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, in which he had pleaded guilty on the 13th May, 2010, which was the first arraignment date.
The facts giving rise to the offence were that on the 17th October, 2009, the appellant had transported from England to Ireland, two boxes containing 10.7 kg of cannabis herb and 47.3 kg of cannabis resin with an estimated value of approximately €413,600. When arrested he made admissions and cooperated with the interview process. This was his first offence under S.15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.
The primary ground of appeal relates to the approach taken by the trial judge to sentencing under s. 27(3B), (3C) and (3D) of the Misuse of Drugs Act1977, as amended. Those sections are complex. The statutory scheme which applies is that under subs, 3C where a person, other than somebody under the age of eighteen years is convicted of an offence under S.15A or S.15B of the Act, the court in imposing sentence shall specify a term of not less than ten years as a minimum sentence of imprisonment to be served by the person unless permitted by the Statute to depart from same. The appellant was in excess of eighteen years.
However, the mandatory ten year term imposed by s. 3C is tempered by subs, 3D and subpara. 3D (b) is of particular relevance to this appeal and that provides:-
"Subsection (3C) of this section shall not apply where the court is satisfied that there are exceptional and specific circumstances relating to the offence, or the person convicted of the offence, which would make a sentence of not less than 10 years imprisonment unjust in all the circumstances and for that purpose the court may, subject to this section, have regard to any matters it considers appropriate… .."
and there are certain specified matters to which the court may have regard which are not directly relevant to the first ground of appeal.
5. It is accepted by the Director that the trial judge, who is a very experienced criminal trial judge, did properly have regard to matters to which he is permitted to have regard...
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