DPP v Mannion

JurisdictionIreland
CourtCourt of Appeal (Ireland)
JudgeMr. Justice Birmingham
Judgment Date03 Nov 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] IECA 314
Docket Number4/16

[2016] IECA 314

THE COURT OF APPEAL

Birmingham J.

Birmingham J.

Sheehan J.

Edwards J.

4/16

Director of Public Prosecutions
Respondent
V
Neil Mannion
Appellant

Crime & sentencing – Drugs – Appeal against sentence – Supply of drugs over “Dark Net” – Severity of sentence

Facts: The appellant had been convicted of an offence in relation to s 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977. The Gardaí had arrested him after surveillance based on intelligence he was supplying drugs over the “dark net”. He now appealed against sentence, alleging that the sentence was severe having regard to the sentence handed down to a co-accused.

Held by Mr Justice Birmingham, the other Justices concurring, that the appeal would be dismissed. The Court was satisfied the sentencing judge had taken due account of the relevant principles. Whilst the co-accused had received what may be described as a more lenient sentence, the Court was persuaded that this reflected the differing roles of the accused.

Judgment of the Court delivered on the 3rd day of November 2016 by Mr. Justice Birmingham
Mr. Justice Birmingham
1

This is an appeal against severity of sentence. The sentence appealed is one of six and half years imprisonment imposed in the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on the 21st December, 2015, in respect of an offence of s. 15A of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977, as amended.

2

The factual background to this offence is somewhat unusual. The offence is recorded as having occurred on the 5th November, 2014, at Bank House, 331 South Circular Road, Dublin 8. The position is that the gardaí had information available to them relating to a particular computer IP address and the sale and supply of controlled drugs on the ‘dark net’. As part of the investigation, surveillance was placed on the appellant, Mr. Neil Mannion, and he was seen to visit premises at Bank House. A search warrant was obtained in respect of that premises and when it was executed, a holdall which contained LSD, small amounts of cannabis resin and amphetamine was located. The LSD was in a number of different forms, LSD tabs, LSD microdots, LSD liquid and LSD powder. The value of the LSD was €141,631 and the total value of the drugs was €143,000 approximately.

3

The search of the premises revealed a weighing scale which was in the holdall, various Visa electron cards, a vacuum packing machine, brown envelopes, white envelopes, labels for postage and foil wrapping. Present at the time of the search was the appellant and another individual, Mr. Richard O'Connor. Mr. Mannion was arrested and subsequently interviewed and in the course of interviews he took responsibility for the controlled drugs that were located and accepted that his role was as vendor of drugs on the ‘dark net’. Mr. Mannion had accepted that his role as vendor meant that people would put in an order with the ‘Hulkster’ which was his online name and he would package and send the items to the persons who placed the order. Orders were dispatched to the UK, USA, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico, France, Holland, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Japan, Sweden, Ukraine, Thailand, Denmark, Spain, Malaysia, Israel, Norway, Argentina, Canada, Lithuania, Finland and Belgium as well as Ireland. At this stage he was also operating a business involving e-cigarettes and an auction website. When interviewed in relation to the drugs operation, Mr. Mannion was cooperative in terms of providing passwords and explaining the mechanics of how the system worked.

4

In the course of interviews he was asked ‘is it a successful business in terms of profitability?’ He responded ‘reasonable, when I did it first I didn't expect to have hundreds of...

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2 cases
  • Criminal Assets Bureau v Mannion
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 17 December 2018
    ...of the respondent's criminality, the Bureau refer to the Court of Appeal's judgment on the severity of his sentence ( DPP v. Mannion [2016] IECA 314), wherein Birmingham P. stated that the respondent had engaged in a commercial enterprise on an international scale. Once again, the lack of ......
  • DPP v Lawel
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal
    • 9 October 2017
    ...It was again held to be proper and necessary that different roles attract different sentences in The People (DPP) v. Mannion [2016] IECA 314. 21 Seventh, the trial judge failed to have regard sufficiently or at all to the efforts made by the appellant in respect of his rehabilitation and fu......

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