A heroin wholesaler living in Blarney who was ‘brazen’ in preparing drugs for sale in his kitchen even though he knew gardaí were calling to check his curfew on another drugs case had his sentence of 17 years reduced to 13 years yesterday.
Mr Justice John Edwards said at the Court of Appeal sitting in Cork that the sentence was disproportionate and effectively reduced it by four years today.
Judge Brian O’Callaghan imposed the original sentence on Garrett Hill, 38, at Cork Circuit Criminal Court. Consecutive sentences of seven and ten years were imposed on the accused who had not shown a scintilla of remorse for his crimes which had a devastating effect on society, the judge said.
Garrett Hill of The View, Gleann Na Rí, Tower, Blarney, pleaded at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to charges of having heroin for sale or supply at Cork Builders Providers car park in Togher on August 25, 2016, and having heroin for sale or supply at an apartment at Blarney shopping centre on the same date.
Anthony Sammon defence senior counsel said not enough credit was given for Hill’s plea of guilty. He said that even though it came after the trial had opened it obviated the necessity for the State to call evidence from undercover officers whose identity was kept hidden.
Hill was sentenced for two different incidents of drug-dealing – the second happening at a time when gardaí were calling regularly to his house to check he was keeping his curfew. They saw him – through a window – weighing and bagging drugs for sale in his kitchen.
Mr Justice George Birmingham said that showed brazenness. Mr Sammon said he had to agree it showed “a considerable amount of neck.” Mr Sammon objected to comments made by Judge Brian O’Callaghan at the sentencing hearing that educational courses taken by Hill in prison might serve to “make him a better criminal.” Mr Sammon SC said, “These comments were deeply offensive and should not have been made by the sentencing judge.”
Originally from Drogheda and married with a family in Blarney he was described as organiser-in-chief of the drug-dealing detected by gardaí.
Over €7,000 worth of heroin was found in the car in Togher in August 2016 and more than €96,000 worth in an apartment at Blarney shopping centre. In January 2017 at his home gardaí seized almost €13,000 worth of drugs for sale or supply, consisting mainly of cannabis on that occasion but also of cocaine and heroin.
Detective Garda Ian Cahalane testified that when interviewed by gardaí on six separate occasions in relation to drug-dealing in August 2016 and January 2017, Hill replied ‘No comment’ to every relevant question.