A MAN convicted over his role in the smuggling of €440m worth of cocaine off the West Cork coast claims he should not have been convicted for sale and supply because the drugs were not destined for this country.
Perry Wharrie (56), from Loughton, Essex in England, had in 2008 received a 30-year prison sentence.
The sentence was the longest ever handed down in the State for a drugs conviction and it was given to Wharrie for his part in the bungled smuggling attempt at Dunlough Bay near Mizen Head on July 2nd 2007.
Wharrie was unanimously found guilty by a jury at Cork Circuit Criminal Court after a 42-day trial.
His appeal against conviction was dismissed in April 2013.
Wharrie is now asking the Court of Appeal to certify a fresh appeal to the Supreme Court, arguing an important point of law of exceptional public importance arises in his case.
Last Thursday, Mr Justice John MacMenamin directed the parties to prepare submissions for a hearing date later.
He declined to make an order for production of Wharrie in court for the hearing after saying there were difficulties previously in getting him from prison to court on time for hearings.
Wharrie could give evidence from prison by video link, he said.
The point of law being raised concerns whether Wharrie should have been charged with the offence of having the drug for sale and supply. He claims the drug was not destined for this country and could only be an offence here if it was.
The DPP argues that does not meet the necessray criteria for a fresh appeal.
Wharrie and his co-accused were arrested by gardai after their rigid inflatable boat (RIB) carrying 1.5 tonnes of cocaine got into difficulties off the Cork coast, when one of its petrol engines was filled with diesel. This caused the craft to sink in rough seas.
The cocaine had been transferred to their boat from a Catamaran after a rendezvous 30 miles out to sea.
Lifeboat crews who came to the aid of the sinking boat found 65 bales of cocaine and customs officials who went to Dunlough Bay came across Wharrie and another man making their way up from the cliffs.