TV chef Rachel Allen's eldest son has been jailed for 15 months after he was found to be in possession of over £27,000 worth of cannabis.
Joshua Allen was caught when customs officers noticed a US package containing the drug arrived at an Irish mailing centre addressed to him.
He was arrested when police swooped at the internationally renowned Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co Cork, where Joshua had signed for and opened the package.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court heard that Joshua would have faced a far more "grim" sentence if he had not become a "changed man" since his entry to rehabilitation for drug addiction last November, the Irish Mirror reports.
Mr Allen, who was without previous convictions, had pleaded guilty to possessing over £27,000 worth of cannabis for sale and supply. He also admitted possessing a small quantity of cocaine and cannabis for his own personal use.
Mr Allen of Ballinmona, Shanagarry, Co Cork spent three weeks in custody last year after Judge Sean O'Donnabhain said that his response to facing serious drug charges was "unimpressive".
Last November he was given the opportunity to become an inpatient at Cuain Mhuire rehab centre where he was successfully treated for his addiction issues.
Cork Circuit Criminal Court today heard from defence barrister Siobhan Lankford, SC, who said that her client had done well in rehab having seriously addressed his addiction issues for the first time.
She said that his drugs operation was "amateurish" and that he was a "naive" young man who had left school prior to the completion of his Junior Certificate. She said that such was his addiction that he had tested positive for cannabis during the courts process.
Ms Lankford requested that her client be treated like any "other young man in the court before you." She added that he deserved a chance.
Judge O'Donnabhain described as "offensive" the idea that he would treat the accused differently from anyone else. He said there was a significant level of culpability.
He set a headline sentence of five years for the charge but taking his guilty plea and age in to account he jailed Allen for two and a half years with the final fifteen months suspended. He backdated the sentence to November 8th last when Allen spent three months in remand.
Judge O'Donnabhain said that Allen had a "sad background" having left school without any qualifications before his Junior Cert and having not received any qualifications since. He noted that the defendant had matured since his time in Cuain Mhuire.
"He has done his bit. He has come up to the mark. He has convinced his probation officer that he is a changed man."
At the time of his arrest, 47-year-old TV star Rachel said Joshua had made a "massive mistake".
"We are making a statement in response to, and hopefully to alleviate, the frenzy of enquiry and speculation on going in relation to our son Joshua," she said in a statement.
"He has been arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs (marijuana) with intent to supply them to others.
"He has admitted his guilt immediately and co-operated fully with the Gardaí."
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