AN Englishman jailed for his role in the largest drugs seizure in the history of the State has had his 30-year jail term reduced on appeal to 17-and-a-half years.
Perry Wharrie, (56), from Loughton in Essex was given what his lawyer described as the ‘highest sentence in the history of the State’ for drugs offences, following the seizure of a record €440m of cocaine at Dunlough Bay on the Mizen Peninsula on July 2nd 2007.
Wharrie, who had pleaded not guilty to possession of the drugs for sale or supply, was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment by Judge Seán Ó Donnabháin on July 23rd 2008.
Wharrie successfully appealed his sentence last July with the three-judge Court of Criminal Appeal finding that the sentencing judge ‘fell into error.’
Giving judgment, Mr Justice Tony Hunt said the main error was that the judge did not give credit for the fact that Wharrie, unlike his co-accused, refrained from giving false evidence in his trail. Although the fact was noted by the judge, Wharrie did not get that mitigation because of his very serious criminal record, Mr Justice Hunt said.
Furthermore, the judge said Wharrie’s presence in this jurisdiction was ‘accidental.’
Mr Justice Hunt, said that Wharrie should be allowed a five-year discount for how well he was doing in prison.