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Joshua Allen to find out next month if cannabis possession sentence will be reactivated over cocaine find

 20th May 2022

Joshua Allen, the son of celebrity TV chef Rachel Allen, will discover next month whether a suspended prison sentence imposed for cannabis possession will be activated.

The 22-year-old – who is a great grandson of Ballymaloe founder, the late Myrtle Allen, and a grandson of TV chef Darina Allen – received a 15-month custodial sentence with 15 months suspended at Cork Circuit Court three years ago after he pleaded guilty to possession of more than €22,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply in September 2018.

However, he was convicted last year before Midleton District Court, in a separate and unrelated matter, of possession of €280 worth of cocaine on July 20, 2020.

In sentencing him last September, Judge Alec Gabbett noted that the cocaine matter arose just five weeks after the young man had been released from custody on the earlier cannabis possession charge.

Judge Gabbett imposed a two month prison sentence for the cocaine possession.

Midleton District Court heard that a Garda spotted Allen throw an item into a bush when officers attended an outdoor gathering of youngsters in July 2020 – and the cocaine was located at the precise spot involved.

The question of Allen’s suspended sentence activation, because of the Midleton District Court conviction, was listed before Cork Circuit Criminal Court earlier this year.

The young man dropped an appeal against his Midleton District Court conviction last March – but is proceeding with a challenge to the severity of the sentence imposed.

Judge Helen Boyle is now expected to deal with both the suspended sentence issue over the cannabis possession and the challenge to the severity of the cocaine possession sentence at the same hearing during the June session of Cork Circuit Criminal Court.

Allen had pleaded not guilty to a charge that on July 10, 2020, at the Pontoon, Midleton, Co Cork, he had unlawfully in his possession a controlled drug, namely cocaine, to the value of €280, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Last September, Judge Gabbett jailed Allen for two months having convicted him of the offence following a day-long hearing.

Judge Gabbett noted that Allen had been released from Cork Prison in May 2020 in relation to a previous cannabis offence and “within five weeks” the cocaine possession case arose.

The Midleton District Court conviction represents a so-called ‘triggering offence’ in respect of an outstanding suspended sentence over the previous cannabis matter.

The court will now rule on a 15-month suspended sentence which Allen faced from a previous and separate 2019 cannabis conviction.

He was arrested almost four years ago after customs officers at Portlaoise Mail Centre became suspicious about a package addressed to Joshua Allen at Ballymaloe Cookery School which was mailed from the United States.

That sentence was imposed after he had attended a three month term at a residential treatment centre for drug use in 2019.

He received the 15-month term after the court was told he was “naive” and “amateurish”, with the young man being warned he initially faced the case with “stupidity”.

Allen had last year vehemently denied the Midleton cocaine possession charge.

The young man is now involved in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and has been helping raise funds for a number of local charities.

In evidence to the court, he denied throwing anything into the bushes that night when gardaí approached a group of youths following a noise complaint.

“With all due respect, you are making a mistake. It is a big mistake,” he said. 

“It affects me and my family a lot. It is impossible [that I dropped anything].

“If I wanted to get rid of drugs I probably would have put them down my pants.”

He insisted it was simply his “first instinct” to walk away from the gardaí when they arrived at the scene in Midleton.

Allen had insisted that whatever drugs gardaí found in Midleton on the night were not his.

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