DPP v Maunsell
 IECA 7
THE COURT OF APPEAL
30/2012 - Ryan Birmingham Irvine - Court of Appeal - 10/11/2014 - 2014 16 4449 2014 IECA 7
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S15
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S3
DPP v MCGINTY 2006 IECCA 37
DPP v ECCLES UNREP CCA 8.10.2003 2003/15/3331
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1977 S15(A)
Appeal – Sentence Severity – Misuse of Drugs Act – Practice and Procedures – Bail – Consent – Rehabilitation – Drug Addiction
1. This is a case where Mr. Maunsell appeals against the severity of the sentence imposed on him in the Dublin Circuit Court, the sentence being appealed is one of twelve months imprisonment in respect of an offence under s. 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, a s. 3 offence being taken into account. It is of some significance that the sentencing judge initially provided for a stay for fourteen days on the execution of the warrant and that was apparently designed to give Mr. Maunsell an opportunity to organise his affairs before going into custody, but that as it happened during the fourteen day period, there was a successful application for bail to the court of Court of Criminal Appeal, the predecessor of this Court. It has been indicated that in what must have been an unusual occurrence that the admission to bail was on consent.
2. The circumstances of the offence are that on the 1 st March, 2010, the appellant was in a motor car with three others, when the vehicle was stopped and searched. A sum of cash was located in the course of that search in the possession of one of the other occupants of the vehicle. There was a second search then of the same car shortly after and on this occasion, the cash which had been there the first time, was no longer there. In those circumstances the appellant and others were brought to Ballyfermot garda station. There he was searched and found to be in possession of two white packages containing a brown substance, which on analysis, turned out to be heroin.
3. It will be noted that at the station he had to be restrained as he appeared to be trying to conceal something. The heroin in question has an estimated street value of €1,904.40 when broken down into €20 bags, but the appellant indicated that he had paid €400 for it during the course of the interview.
4. In the course of that interview, he admitted possession of the heroin and that he would sell it to people who called.
5. The appellant's circumstances are that he is from Clonmel, he had been in a relationship and had a child from that relationship.
6. So far as previous convictions are concerned, he has seventeen previous convictions, including offences of theft and public order. Of significance is that two convictions in 2009 related to s. 3 and s. 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act and for those offences, he received a sentence of eight months imprisonment.
7. The evidence on behalf of the prosecution in the Circuit Court was given by Garda Eustace and the prosecuting member accepted in the course of that evidence that there had been a direction for summary disposal by the DPP, but that jurisdiction was refused, that the appellant had indicated that he would have paid around €400 for the drugs and that the appellant was at the lower end of the chain. Very significant is the fact that at the time of the offence that he was in the throes of addiction and in a striking phase, it was said that the proceeds would go straight into his arm. It was accepted that he and others had come to Dublin from Clonmel and that there was a naivety in the way they went about the offence. The drugs, it was accepted, were bought primarily for himself, but also that a portion would have been sold to friends who were addicts.
8. Evidence was presented of the fact that he had been attending Victory Outreach a residential programme, that he looked remarkably better, that he had turned his life around, that he was reconciled with his family and that he was back in regular contact with his young child.
9. In terms of the appellant's background, it was explained that he had started to smoke...
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