Limerick family’s horror at French court’s guilty verdict

Donal O’Regan

Reporter:

Donal O’Regan

THE COUNTY Limerick family of a man who was found guilty of drug smuggling in France say they are shocked at the court’s decision.

THE COUNTY Limerick family of a man who was found guilty of drug smuggling in France say they are shocked at the court’s decision.

Sean Ryan “Thadger”, aged 58, from Cappamore was accused of complicity after a truck driver, who was sub-contracted to him, was stopped at a customs checkpoint in France in July 2010.

Customs officials found a quantity of drugs, believed to be heroin, in the trailer that was being transported back to Ireland from Holland for one of Europe’s largest freight companies

The guilty verdict was handed down in Nice on Tuesday. His family travelled to France to support Sean who says “I’ve done nothing wrong”.

Under French law drug trafficking is punishable with imprisonment of up to 10 years, or up to life in prison in case of particularly serious offences.

In a statement to the Limerick Leader the family said they travelled to France with hopes that Sean would be freed to return home.

Sean’s lawyer in France, Monsieur S Rauline, told the family that there was no basis for Sean’s continued detention in France but added that it was impossible to be sure how the court would rule on the matter.

“From his research into the case he had stated that there was no evidence connecting Sean to the find. The French police had created a case based totally on supposition. To the horror of Sean’s family the court accepted the police’s theory on the events,” said the statement. The lawyer said he was “ashamed of my country and its justice system” and the decision was “incredible”.

The case was instantly appealed. However, the family will now have to wait several more months.

“The lawyer added that it will be at least six months before an appeal will be heard because of the high number of cases going forward for appeal from this court.”

Sean’s wife, Joan, said: “We all know that Sean is innocent and we will continue to work to achieve justice for Sean. We know now that it is going to take longer.”

“This is already set to be another instance in a long list where Irish truck drivers are meted out very rough treatment by the authorities in France,” concluded the statement.

Mr Ryan, who runs a well established haulage contractors, has now been in custody since the end of March.