Irish stud face charges over illegal substances

Irish stud face charges over illegal substances
By Richard Forristal 5:45PM 7 SEP 2016

GAY and Annette O'Callaghan and their son David, proprietors of Yeomanstown Stud, face prosecution after illegal equine remedies were allegedly found on their premises by the Department of Agriculture.

One of Ireland's leading breeders and sales consignors, Yeomanstown Stud, which is based in Naas, County Kildare, has had notable success recently with its marquee stallion Dark Angel.

Gay O'Callaghan, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders' Association Awards in January, his wife and son are among five people facing charges in relation to the case, which has been adjourned until December, according to a report in yesterday's Irish Times.

The O'Callaghans, and Yeomanstown's listed owner, Mull Enterprises Ltd, reportedly face 16 allegations, including for possession of animal sedatives without the required authorisation. Alice Bena Hickey, a Curragh-based vet listed as an associate of Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital, faces three charges in relation to the case, while Jim Cosgrove, of Cosgrove Pharmacy in Newbridge, faces 20 charges.

Prosecuting counsel Noel Whelan alleged that on September 12, 2014, and on other dates, a department inspector found and seized illegally held animal remedies at Yeomanstown.

"We believe many of them would have been coming from the US," Whelan said of the substances. Hickey and Cosgrove are accused of selling products without authorisation.

According to the report, offences under the animal remedies regulations attract a fine of up to €5,000 or six months in prison, on summary conviction. Conviction before a jury carries a fine of up to €500,000 or three years in prison.

Whelan said the director of public prosecutions was recommending summary disposal of the case, meaning it can be heard at district court level without a jury.

Whelan confirmed to the judge that the allegations did not involve any suggestion of harm to the horses, and he agreed that, while the substances involved were "significant", the offences were at the minor end of the scale.

Judge Desmond Zaidan said he would take submissions from the defendants in December and decide where the case should be heard.

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