herald

Sunday 23 September 2018

Fresh charge for solicitor accused of taking €25 of cocaine into Mountjoy

Solicitor Aonghus McCarthy
Solicitor Aonghus McCarthy

An additional charge has been brought against a solicitor accused of taking cocaine into Mountjoy Prison during a professional visit.

Aonghus McCarthy (32) was charged in November for conveying a controlled drug into Mountjoy, or to a person in the prison, on February 8 last year - a charge he denies.

Cocaine worth €25 was allegedly found when his wallet was searched, Dublin District Court heard.

Mr McCarthy told gardai yesterday that he did not know it was there after an additional charge was put to him in connection with the seizure.

His practice is at Conyngham Road, Dublin 8.

In November, the District Court accepted jurisdiction to hear the case and had ordered that his trial would take place in March.

The solicitor, originally from Co Cork but with an address at Wellington House, Clancy Quay, Dublin 8, appeared again at Dublin District Court to face an additional charge of unlawful possession of cocaine on February 8 last year.

Gda Finbarr Brennan told Judge Cormac Dunne that he charged Mr McCarthy at the court.

Bail

The defendant's reply was "I did not know it was there", the court was told. Gda Brennan said it was alleged that the value of the cocaine was €25.

Judge Dunne extended the existing bail to the new charge sheet.

Defence solicitor Michael Hanahoe said that in light of the new charge he was asking for the case to be put back to a later date for mention.

Judge Dunne remanded that his client to appear again in four weeks to indicate how he will plead to the new charge.

A state solicitor also told Judge Dunne that a new trial date was needed as a result of a witness difficulty.

The judge said that could also be confirmed on February 6, when the case and both charges will be listed again for mention.

In a summary of the prosecution evidence given in November, the court heard it would be alleged that the defendant entered the prison for a professional visit to an inmate.

He went through a search area where he put his belt and wallet on a conveyor belt to be scanned.

It was alleged that as they passed though the scanner, a prison officer observed a black object inside the wallet.

The prison officer found a bag with a "white powder substance inside".

It was suspected it was a controlled drug and gardai were called, the court heard.

Interviewed

The accused agreed to be interviewed at Mountjoy Garda Station, where he "denied having known possession of the suspected drug or that he intended to pass it to an inmate".

Mr Hanahoe had told the court that the hearing would take only 15 minutes.

There was a single issue that required the accused to give evidence, he had said.

The court has also been told there will be two state witnesses.

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