independent

Thursday 23 November 2017

Smuggling accused granted bail despite objections

Bail was opposed by Customs and Excise in the case of a Romanian man intercepted at Rosslare Europort with thousands of euro worth of tobacco products.

However, Judge Gerard Jones decided at Gorey Court that Gheorghe Florea - with an address of Bdul Independenbtei Nr 3, BL6ppSc.C AP.133 Mujn Tirgoviste, Jud Dimbovita, Romania - should be allowed his liberty once €3,000 cash was produced as a surety.

Customs officer Patricia Howlin produced photographs to show how 31,000 cigarettes with estimated value €13,746 were found concealed in a Mercedes Sprinter van which arrived from France on the 'Oscar Wilde' ferry on April 12.

State Solicitor Kevin O'Doherty was concerned that Florea, who worked as a courier, was in and out of Ireland on a regular basis.

It emerged that, on a previous occasion last year, the same man was detained by the French authorities with 45,000 cigarettes.

The Rosslare find was concealed behind wooden panels and in the back door of the Mercedes.

The tobacco confiscated at the Europort represented a loss of more than €13,000 to the State, Ms Howlin calculated.

The defendant's daughter Elena was in court to say that she had been in Ireland since 2101 and had been working in a restaurant earning €749 per fortnight.

She offered to go bail for her father, though this was opposed by Mr O'Doherty who noted that €5,000 had passed through her bank account in one month.

The State Solicitor felt that this was an exceptional and significant rate of spending for a restaurant worker.

Despite prosecution misgivings, Judge Jones allowed bail after the cash surety was tendered to the court clerk, adjourning to May 2.

Wexford People

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