HMA v LAURENCE MCALLISTER & KIERAN JOSEPH MURPHY

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Uist sentenced Laurence McAllister and Kieran Murphy after both were found guilty of being concerned in the supply of cannabis. Lord Uist sentenced Laurence McAllister to 5 years 6 months imprisonment, and Kieran Murphy to 5 years imprisonment.

On sentencing, Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

“You were each convicted by the jury of being concerned in the supplying of cannabis between 28 and 30 April this year at Cairnryan Port and elsewhere. You are both from Northern Ireland and came from there on the Dublin to Holyhead ferry in a horsebox containing horses which you delivered in England. On your return journey to Northern Ireland, as a result of the good work of a sniffer dog at Cairnryan called Buster, it was discovered that you each had significant amounts of cash on you. The interior of the horsebox was then searched and, in an empty stable between two horses, one at the front and one at the back, four white hessian bags containing plastic bags of molasses were found. Inside the bags of molasses were further plastic bags containing cannabis. The total amount of cannabis found amounted to 24.5 kilos, with a maximum street value of almost £244,000 in Scotland and double that in Northern Ireland, for where the drugs were clearly destined. This was a large and valuable consignment of drugs which indicates drug dealing at a high level. The idea of using a horsebox for the transport of controlled drugs is a novel and ingenious one and whoever thought it up must have considered that a foolproof method of transporting large amounts of drugs to Northern Ireland had been discovered. Fortunately for the public, and thanks to Buster, that has proved not to be the case and someone has lost a great deal of money as a result of the police discovering these drugs. Despite your convictions each of you has continued to protest your innocence.

You LAURENCE McALLISTER were the passenger in the cab of the horsebox and were on bail at the relevant time. You were in possession of £6,145 in cash, £2,150 in your jacket and £3,995 in your bag. It was you who had commissioned Kieran Murphy to drive you on this expedition in his horse box. You are now 56 years old. You have amassed numerous previous convictions since October 1974, but they are mostly for trivial offences and you have never previously been sentenced to imprisonment. I have read the social enquiry report on you and considered all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation. Nevertheless, you were playing for high stakes when you undertook this trip and must now suffer the consequences of your criminal conduct. The sentence which I impose in your case is 5 years 6 months imprisonment, 6 months of which is referable to the bail aggravation. That sentence will run from 1 May 2012.

You KIERAN JOSEPH MURPHY were the owner and driver of the horsebox and had £765 in your possession. You are now 46 years old and your two previous convictions consist only of road traffic offences. I have read the social enquiry report in your case and considered all that has been said on your behalf. You also were playing for high stakes in transporting these drugs and must now suffer the consequences. The sentence which I impose in your case is 5 years imprisonment from 2 October 2012.”

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