A former radio newsreader and presenter who was found to be in possession of €270,000 worth of drugs for sale and supply has been jailed for eight years.
Pearse McCarthy (52) voluntarily came before Cork Circuit Criminal Court in April on a signed plea of guilty.
He pleaded guilty that on October 27th, 2017 at a property in Kinsale, Co Cork he had cannabis, cocaine, and MDMA for sale or supply when the drugs exceeded a street value of €13,000.
McCarthy, of Red Abbey Court on Margaret Street in Cork City, faced a mandatory sentence of 10 years given that the drugs seized were found to be in excess of €10,000.
Judge Helen Boyle said that she was able to depart from the mandatory figure arising out of the guilty plea of McCarthy.
She also noted his full cooperation with Gardaí.
However, she stressed he had a “mid-ranking role in an organised criminal enterprise” even though he had gotten into his offending behaviour to pay off a drug debt.
Defence barrister Jane Hyland said her client had spent two and a half years in Coolmine treatment centre in the 1990s where he addressed his drug addiction. He even counselled persons with drug addictions for many years.
Ms Hyland said McCarthy relapsed later in life following the sudden death of his partner.
Det Garda Colin O’Mahony told Cork Circuit Criminal Court that members of the Cork West Divisional Drug Unit executed a search warrant at an address in Kinsale, Co Cork on October 27th, 2017.
They recovered 2.2kg of cocaine, 2.8kg of cannabis and 950g of MDMA. The drugs had a street value of €270,000.
Dt Garda O’Mahony said that following an extensive and lengthy review of the case it was determined that Mr McCarthy was behind the “controlling and distribution of the drugs.”
He said that Mr McCarthy handled the logistics of the transport of the drugs and used burn phones to conceal his behaviour.
The court heard that Mr McCarthy was arrested on August 18th, 2021.
Whilst in garda custody he admitted that he was in Kinsale when the large drug seizure was made in October 2017. Det Garda O’Mahony said that McCarthy admitted that he was involved with three other people in the collection and distribution of drugs at that time.
“He accepted that he was supplying drugs and conveying orders on behalf of bosses. He admitted that he was stock-taking and communicating with bosses. He accepted he was supplying drugs.”
Dt Garda O’Mahony said that McCarthy admitted that over the course of two and a half to three years in the drug dealing operation he had handled 90 to 100 kilos of drugs with a street value of up to €2 million.
Mr McCarthy’s barrister Jane Hyland said that her client had studied radio broadcasting before taking up a position as a newsreader. He has always held down employment.
Ms Hyland said that McCarthy had indicated his intention to enter a guilty plea at an early stage and faced up to what he did by voluntarily going into prison prior to his sentencing hearing.
She also stated that Mr McCarthy only had a minor previous conviction for possession of drugs and was not a regular before the courts.
Judge Boyle said that McCarthy was actively involved in the active distribution of drugs.
“It is clear you were involved in the moving and organising of vans and distributing and collecting of drugs over a number of years. Your level of culpability is relatively high — you were actively engaged in this, you had people reporting in to you and you reported to the bosses.
“You held a mid-ranking role in the organised criminal enterprise for the sale and distribution of drugs. You were actively involved.
Gardai discovered evidence of active distribution of drugs including accounts, and electronic devices that would indicate the distribution of drugs.”
However, she said that the signed guilty pleas spared the State from having to hold a trial. Judge Boyle noted that McCarthy was doing well in prison where he is helping in the kitchen and is a model prisoner. She jailed McCarthy for nine years suspending the last year of the sentence.
Mr McCarthy is known in Cork for his work as a newsreader and presenter with 96FM and 103FM. He is also a podcaster.
By Olivia Kelleher
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