By ISABEL CONWAY
Wednesday May 26 1999
ALLEGED Dublin drugs baron and crime boss George Mitchell, jailed in the Netherlands for his involvement in a £5m computer parts scam, has had his prison sentence cut by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal. ALLEGED Dublin drugs baron and crime boss George Mitchell, jailed in the Netherlands for his involvement in a £5m computer parts scam, has had his prison sentence cut by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.
Judges yesterday ruled to reduce his two-and-a-half-year sentence imposed by a lower court convicting Mitchell on a robbery count last year to a two-year term.
A defence plea to have the robbery count substituted for the lesser offence of embezzlement was rejected. Under Dutch law prison sentences run concurrently from the date of arrest and a third is remitted for good behaviour. The Irishman is expected now to be freed within months.
Mitchell (49), of Drimnagh, and with an address at Woodfarm Acres, Palmerstown, had told earlier Court hearings that he had set up an import-export business and was doing well bringing in consignments of furniture from Indonesia, which he sold in the Netherlands.
President of Amsterdam Appeal Court Jules Wortel said the Court rejected defence claims that Mitchell had been innocent of involvement in a robbery but instead may have been involved with others in an embezzlement bid. The court was satisfied he was guilty of robbing an Irish lorry laden with computer parts.
Together with the Irish lorry driver and two Dutch nationals, he was tried and convicted of a £5m computer parts robbery from the lorry en-route from the Hewlett Packard plant in Co Kildare to a Dutch customer.
Mitchell, who fled Ireland amid a major Garda crackdown on organised crime after the death of Veronica Guerin in 1996, claimed gardai involved an agent provocateur to try to trap him in Holland.
Dutch undercover police who had been tipped off by their Irish counterparts arrested alleged ringleader Mitchell, the lorry driver and three Dutch members of a gang as the lorry was being stripped of its load near Amsterdam's Schiphol airport in March 1998.
In a second Dutch Court of Appeal ruling Dublin born Derek Dalton (31) who convicted of shooting dead a Dutch criminal had his 15-year sentence reduced to 12 years.
The former barman was found guilty last December of gunning down a Dutch drugs trafficker and crime boss in a settling of old scores.
- ISABEL CONWAY