A FERMOY van driver caught with €81,000 worth of cannabis 10 years ago fled to England when he was due to face sentencing but he was arrested in Cork yesterday.
Detective Sergeant Garda James O’Shea arrested Philip Foley, aged 46, and brought him before Cork Circuit Criminal Court.
Foley had been due to appear before the same court in November 2011.
On that occasion, he faced sentencing on a serious drugs charge which carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years unless there were exceptional circumstances.
Foley, who had been living at an address at The Manor, Clondulane, Fermoy, Co Cork, was charged with possessing cannabis resin and herb drugs for sale or supply when it was valued at more than €13,000, the threshold figure for the mandatory 10-year jail term.
The charge related to the discovery of drugs in the van by gardaí at Kevin Barry Hill in Fermoy at about 1.20pm on March 16, 2011.
Defence barrister Ray Boland said yesterday that Foley was in the UK working hard and not getting into trouble when he became aware of a European arrest warrant for him.
He returned to Cork voluntarily on January 24 and made contact with his solicitor, Frank Buttimer.
Foley then met Det Garda O’Shea by appointment yesterday for the purpose of being arrested and brought before the court.
There was a state application to have him remanded in custody. Mr Boland said he was instructed not to apply for bail.
“It is a long way from Kevin Barry Hill to her majesty,” said Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin, noting the location of the 2011 crime.
Mr Boland confirmed that Foley had been in the UK for 10 years and had a good work record.
“The best thing would be to get sentence disposed of as soon as possible,” said Judge Ó Donnabháin.
When the case first came before Fermoy District Court, it was stated that the bulk of the cannabis seized was in the form of cannabis herb.
Foley was originally sent forward to Cork Circuit Criminal Court on bail of €100 personal bond and independent surety of €5,000. The conditions of the bail included Foley signing on daily at Fermoy Garda station and surrendering his passport.
Mr Boland said that Tom Creed, senior counsel, also represented the accused and that he would be in court for the sentencing hearing next week.