A woman who was found to be in possession of nearly €100,000 which was the proceeds of criminal conduct when gardaí searched her home has been jailed for 18 months.
When gardaí asked Lorna Palmer (35) about two envelopes containing around €700 and €2,000, each found in a money box at her Dublin home, she told them she did not know why people were posting money through the door.
Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard that drug related offences were in progress at the time of the seizure at her then home and while she knew the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct, gardaí believe she was not involved in the underlying criminality.
The court heard that Palmer's partner was in custody at the time of the seizure, having being convicted of an offence of possession of drugs for sale or supply.
Palmer of The Crescent, Millbrook Lawn, Tallaght, pleaded guilty to possession of the proceeds of criminal conduct at her address on April 21st, 2017. She has no previous convictions.
On Wednesday, Judge Melanie Greally sentenced Palmer to four and half years but suspended the final three years having given credit for a number of “mitigating factors”.
Judge Greally accepted that Palmer was “under the influence of her long term partner” at the time and had pleaded guilty to the offence.
She further accepted that Palmer expressed remorse and has engaged favourably with the Probation Service, noting that she is considered to be at a low risk of re-offending.
Judge Greally acknowledged various testimonials handed in on Palmer’s behalf which described her as a compassionate and caring person particularly in her role as a mother.
'Turning a blind eye'
At a sentence hearing last December, Sergeant Michelle McGuinness told Simon Matthews BL, prosecuting, that gardaí were in receipt of information regarding activity at the address and obtained a search warrant.
Sgt McGuinness said that on the date in April 2017, gardaí searched the house and found large quantities of cash in two safes and in envelopes inside a money box. The total amount of cash found amounted to €99,730.
When questioned by gardaí, Palmer said she did not know how much money there was, and she did not know who owns it. She said she did not know why people were posting money through the door.
CCTV footage obtained by gardaí showed drug related offences in progress at the address and amounts of money being delivered to the house. Palmer's partner was in custody for a drugs offence at the time of the search.
Sgt McGuinness agreed with Giollaíosa Ó Lideadha SC, defending, that his client was “highly unlikely” to engage in criminal activity in the future. She agreed his client cares for her sister and has a child with special needs.
The sergeant agreed with counsel that his client's partner has been in custody for many years.
She agreed that Palmer knew the money was the proceeds of criminal conduct, but was “turning a blind eye” to what was going on and was not involved in the criminal activity.
She agreed with counsel that the brother of his client's partner was a tenant at the address for a period of time and that he was visible on CCTV footage regarding “particular incidents”.
Mr Ó Lideadha said his client has written a letter to the court in which she asks for forgiveness.
He said that in the letter his client expresses anger and upset at how her partner has failed her, but says she has done the same and failed her children too.
Counsel said his client has known throughout the process that she is at risk of a prison sentence and this has been a massive stress on her. He said there was no suggestion his client had attempted to conceal or hide matters from gardaí.
He said the prosecution does not make the case that his client's offending went beyond the matter she is charged with in this case.