30-year-old Cao Son Nguyen, of no fixed abode, had pleaded guilty to cultivation as well as possession of cannabis for sale or supply at a unit in the Clash Industrial Estate, Tralee on October 21, 2013.
Cao Son Nguyen was sentenced to 10 years with the final four suspended by Judge Tom O’Donnell at Tralee Circuit Criminal Court and this was successfully appealed yesterday.
Counsel for Nguyen, Philip Sheahan SC, told the Court of Appeal that it was akin to a growhouse case and was unusual for the DPP to have charged his client with a sale or supply offence in that context.
Mr Sheahan said his client, who slept beside a toilet in the unit, was found asleep among the plants.
Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan said the fact that the sale or supply offence occurred in the context of a growhouse operation did not in any way diminish the offending behaviour.
The court saw merit in submissions by Mr Sheahan that the sentencing judge placed the offence on too high a point on the scale of available penalties and didn’t sufficiently differentiate between Nguyen and his co-accused.
The court ruled the appropriate sentence was seven-and-a-half years with the final three suspended.