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Irish husband of OFW on drugs charge has been framed claim family

June 15, 2015 · 

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A head of steam is growing in the case of Irishman Eanna O’Cochlain who has been convicted and sentenced to 12 years by a Philippine court for possession of 0.3 grams of marijuana.

Mr O’Cochlain, originally from Cork, was in Laoag in the northern Philippines catching an internal flight to Manila when he was arrested for allegedly having 2 cigarettes containing the drug marijuana in them in July 2013.
The facts appear straightforward. He was arrested, charged and placed before the Regional Trial Court 13 in Laoag before trial judge Justice Philip G. Salvador and convicted. He was then sentenced to twelve years imprisonment in November 2013.

His passport is being held by the authorities and he has launched an appeal. In the meantime he has been allowed to reside in Manila on bail waiting the appeal.

There are however two important aspects to this case that are causing serious concern. The first is the savage sentence for such a small amount of the drug. The second is the claim, with some apparent validity, that Eanna O’Cochlain has been framed up in this case, either for a clear case of extortion by the police at Laoag airport, or that he was targeted because of his family’s ownership of a beach front house in Laoag worth some money now.

Eanna O’Cochlain with his daughter (l) Caoime and wife Jho

Eanna O’Cochlain with his daughter (l) Caoime and wife Jho
His brother Patrick Coughlan who still lives in Cork has told Balita Pinoy that Eanna was searched by security twice at the airport before the final third search where the drugs appear to have been found.

There are also claims that the two policeman who arrested him, along with the prosecutor, warned of a possible 25 years in jail if a pay-off were not forthcoming.

Patrick Coughlan in Cork campaigning for his brother, and Laoag Airport where the arrest took place

To make matters worse for Mr O’Cochlain is that his mother, a brother and a sister have all died in the past six months, adding to his personal trauma.

His brother has launched an on-line appeal and petition which can be accessed here:

Eanna O’Cochlain Petition/Appeal

Balita Pinoy contacted the Irish Embassy in Singapore to find out what representation has been made on Mr O’Cochlain’s behalf. Both they and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Dublin gave the following identical response:

“The Department is aware of the case and is providing consular assistance to Mr Ó Cochláin, but we do not comment on individual cases.”
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