A ‘Daniel O’Donnell superfan' has had her prison sentence for participating in a cocaine “factory” cut in half by the Court of Appeal.
Molly Sloyan (26), from Kinsale, Co Cork, made headlines of a more innocent nature previously when her reaction to a Daniel O’Donnell impersonator on the Late Late Show went viral.
Last year, she was one of four people who pleaded guilty at Cork Circuit Criminal Court to possession of cocaine for sale or supply at Seascape, Dromleigh, in Bantry, on November 26, 2017. The value of the high-purity cocaine was estimated to be €70,000.
Sentencing her to 10 years imprisonment with the final three suspended, Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin said the group were involved in a sophisticated system of extracting cocaine from fabric material imported from Brazil. It was in effect, a “factory”, he said.
Sloyan had admitted renting a house on Airbnb, hiring a car and purchasing the chemicals used in the extraction of the cocaine from the fabrics. Judge Ó Donnabháin said she gave significant help to the group and “to say she was the girlfriend (of one of the co-accused) does not do justice to the criminality involved”.
She successfully appealed against the severity of her sentence on Tuesday, with the Court of Appeal holding that the 10-year headline tariff was “simply too high”.
Mr Justice John Edwards said the court would give a written judgment with detailed reasons for its decision on October 8 but Sloyan was “entitled to know her fate” now. She was resentenced to five years imprisonment with the final 18 months suspended.
Counsel for Sloyan, Michael O’Higgins SC, said the drugs came in fabric cloth which was reduced through use of a solvent and turned into sludge, then powder. But there was no “chemical wizardry” involved and it would be wrong to call it “cutting edge”.
Mr O’Higgins said there were four people involved in the operation and Sloyan was “on the periphery”. He said the “visible” tasks carried out by her - the renting of the house, the hiring of the car and the purchasing of the chemicals over-the-counter - were usually allocated to the weakest links in the chain and she wasn’t involved in any extraction.
He said Sloyan was the youngest of the group and had an “association” with the “main participant”.
Mr O’Higgins said Sloyan had no relevant previous convictions, had pleaded guilty early, had cooperated with the gardaí and a detailed psychological report set out the adversities in her life.
He submitted that the case fell into the “very small number” of cases where a wholly suspended sentence could have been justified.
The court heard evidence from a case manager with the Department of Justice’s Outlook Program for the reintegration of offenders into society.
The witness told Mr O’Higgins that the program only accepts the “best of the best” candidates. Sloyan was deemed to be a suitable candidate following an assessment, according to the witness, and was engaging with its requirements.
Mr Justice Edwards, who sat with Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy and Ms Justice Isobel Kennedy, said the court was impressed with Sloyan’s effort towards rehabilitation.