The Court of Criminal Appeal (CCA) has significantly reduced the prison sentences imposed on two young Cork mothers who collected cannabis resin valued at €140,000 on a day trip to Dublin.
Last December Nicola Duggan, aged 27, Dublin Street, Blackpool; Vivienne O’Donovan, aged 27, Farranferris Green, Farranree; and another woman were jailed for various terms by Judge Frank O’Donnell at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court after pleading guilty to possession for sale or supply on March 11, 2005, of 20kg of cannabis resin with a market value of €140,000.
Yesterday the CCA decided to suspend half of Duggan’s five-year sentence; and the final two-and-a-half years of O’Donovan’s four-year prison sentence was also suspended.
Judge O’Donnell jailed Duggan, a mother of a two children, for five years because he said she organised the collection for criminals who would profit by selling the drugs.
O’Donovan, the mother of a three-year-old child, was jailed because the judge said she provided her car for the crime. The third woman Niamh Tracey, aged 27, Fairhill Drive, Fairhill, was jailed for three years, and has not appealed her sentence.
O’Donovan and Duggan appealed against the severity of the sentences they received. They claimed that the sentences were unduly severe on the grounds that the sentencing judge had not taken all mitigating factors, including the early plea of guilty, the likelihood that neither was likely to re-offend and the applicant’s family circumstances into account.
The three-judge CCA of Ms Justice Fidelma Macken presiding, sitting with Mr Justice Declan Budd and Ms Justice Mary Irvine found the sentences imposed were unduly severe.
Ms Justice Macken said that while there was a substantial quantity of drugs involved, the sentencing judge did not have adequate regard for the fact that it was highly improbable that either woman would re-offend or come before the courts on any other matter again.