Jailed restaurateur loses court appeal on €79k cannabis haul
A restaurateur who was jailed for importing cannabis worth €79,000 has had his appeal against conviction dismissed.
Patrick Scanlon (55), from West Limerick but with an address on the Channel Island of Jersey, had pleaded not guilty at Limerick Circuit Criminal Court to the possession and importation of cannabis worth €79,000 from Spain to a house in Pallaskenry, Co Limerick, on August 8, 2013.
He was found guilty by a jury following a three-week trial and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment by Mr Justice Caroll Moran on May 21 2014.
The "centrepiece" of Scanlon's appeal against conviction, as submitted by his barrister Michael O'Higgins SC, was that his arrest was allegedly tainted by a period of illegal detention immediately before his arrest.
Mr O'Higgins had told the Court of Appeal that Scanlon was searched twice for drugs - once at the roadside and then at a garda station before he was arrested - and no new reasonable cause had been formed by the gardai when he was searched for a second time in the garda station.
However, speaking on behalf of the three-judge court yesterday, Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said it was not unusual for a person to be detained on the roadside and brought to a station for a further search.
Citing examples submitted by prosecution counsel Anne-Marie Lawlor, Mr Justice Sheehan said it depended on the garda operation and matters which arose during the operation.
He said the action could be described as a continuous single search and it did not matter that the process was described as a first search or second search nor did it matter that it was carried out by two different gardai.
Accordingly, Mr Justice Sheehan, who sat with Mr Justice Alan Mahon and Mr Justice John Edwards, dismissed the appeal.
In June, Mr O'Higgins, told the court that his client had approached a Stephen Quinn about setting up a restaurant and he needed some space to store some bits and bobs he had ordered on EBay.
The prosecution's case was that Mr Quinn was "duped" by Scanlon into accepting delivery of a package containing cannabis, Mr O'Higgins said.
The package from Spain was intercepted, gardai made a controlled delivery to the address and "encouraged" Mr Quinn to receive calls from Scanlon with a view to meeting him later, Mr O'Higgins claimed.
Scanlon will appeal his sentence at a later date.