herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Gangster Barry Fowler avoids more jail time for false passport due to garda error

Barry Fowler leaving court
Barry Fowler leaving court

A Dublin gangster is set to avoid an additional six months in jail for a false passport offence due to a Garda error in court.

Last month, Barry Fowler (30) was handed down a six- month jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to using a false passport in Shannon in April of this year.

The offence was committed while he was out on bail awaiting trial on drugs and gun charges, for which he later got a seven-and-a-half-year sentence.

The law requires that any offence committed while on bail should be consecutive to any other sentence imposed.

However, gardai failed to inform Judge Patrick Durcan - who heard the case relating to the false passport charge - that the incident occurred while he was out on bail.

Backdated

As a result, the judge backdated the six-month sentence to April 5, when Fowler was taken into custody, meaning he would not serve any additional time for his false passport offence.

The case was back before Judge Durcan yesterday after Garda Inspector Tom Kennedy brought a subsequent State application for the judge to amend the order.

Insp Kennedy - who wasn't present for the original sentencing in Ennis - asked that the matter be re-entered so the court order can be amended to make the sentence consecutive.

However, solicitor for Fowler, Daragh Hassett, said the case was at an end and the judge couldn't revisit his original order which was four weeks old.

Mr Hassett told Judge Durcan that if he acceded to the request of the State, he would be making an application to the High Court as the matter is functus officio - which prevents the opening of a matter before the same court. Judge Durcan said that he would not be varying his order.

He pointed out that legislation requires that all offences committed on bail carry a consecutive term and it was up to the authorities to interpret that.

Venues

Mr Fowler said to the judge "Thanks very much", before being escorted from court.

Fowler, of Millbrook Lawns, Tallaght, was returning to Ireland from Spain when he was caught with the false passport.

Unemployed at the time - he was scouting venues there in for his wedding which was due to take place at the end of May.

Sentencing Fowler last month, the judge said that the use of a false passport "is a very, very serious offence that attacks the whole security of the State".

He wasn't told that Fowler had committed the offence while out on bail.

Fowler was jailed at Dublin Circuit Court just a week prior to last month's appearance before Judge Durcan in Ennis.

In that case, Fowler led gardai to a van containing more than €370,000 of drugs, made up of €250,727 of cannabis, €103,404 of cocaine and €8,827 of heroin, when he failed to use the indicators on his BMW car.

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