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Businessman in court over €1.4m cannabis seizure



A Polish businessman was arrested over a seizure of more than €1.4m worth of cannabis within days of setting up his export firm, a court has heard.

Motor parts retailer, Zbigniew Kosinski, 41, of Belfry Hall, Citywest, Dublin, has been held in custody on €35,000 bail.

He appeared before Judge Treasa Kelly at Dublin District Court on Saturday charged with possessing the cannabis for the purpose of sale or supply.

It follows a multi-agency operation by personnel attached to the Garda National Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) and Revenue’s Customs Service.

The operation resulted in the search of a warehouse in Glasnevin on Friday and the seizure of 72 kilos of suspected cannabis.

Detective Garda Gavin Curran objected to bail due to the seriousness of the case.

He said the premises was under surveillance when a consignment was delivered and allegedly signed for by the accused using a false name.

A search was carried out resulting in the drugs being found in his office and Mr Kosinski was arrested under drug trafficking laws.

Detective Garda Curran said the accused had started renting the large warehouse with an office two days prior to the drug seizure.

He agreed with defence solicitor Tracy Horan that he was co-operative on arrest.

The married father-of-one had returned on July 1st after spending seven weeks in Poland where his wife is undergoing treatment for a serious medical problem.

He has, however, lived in Ireland for seven years.

The garda agreed he started using his business premises to export car parts to Poland.

He also accepted the solicitor’s contention that her client was presumed innocent and “would have been very far down the food chain”, and his alleged involvement would have been at the “bottom of the ladder”.

However, he added that conditions would not alleviate his concerns that the accused would flee if granted bail.

Pleading for bail, his solicitor pointed out that he had never been in trouble before and was presumed innocent. The drugs, which have to be analysed, could turn out to be worth much less than the value stated in court, she submitted.

Judge Kelly set bail in his own bond of €30,000, of which €20,000 cash must be lodged. An independent surety in the sum of €10,000 would be required, she ordered.

Ms Horan objected and argued that this was tantamount to refusal of bail, adding that in in murder cases it would not be set so high for someone with no prior convictions.

Judge Kelly reduced the independent surety to €5,000. Once the bail terms have been met he must surrender his passport and not apply for alternative travel documentation, he must remain in the jurisdiction, sign on three times a week at his local Garda station, and be contactable by phone at all times.

Mr Kosinski was remanded in custody with consent to bail to appear again next week. He has not yet indicated how he will plead.

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Three Cork publicans prepare to begin trade again



Pensioners who like to read the paper as they enjoy a few leisurely pints are the cohort most excited by the resumption of indoor service in pubs, according to a Cork city publican who has only traded for two weeks since March 2020.

Michael O’Donovan, who owns the Castle Inn, says his regulars have been phoning to check what time he is opening on Monday, with some saying they have not had a social outing since the start of the pandemic.

“We know all our regulars on a first-name basis. We have a man who comes in and has two or three pints on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He will read the paper but he will watch the world go by at the same time,” he said.

“He will chat when he wants to chat. He is in his late 70s and he wouldn’t have been out [socially] in 15 months.”

Mr O’Donovan said it has been a surreal time but was hopeful that better days were coming.

“We will adapt and get on with all the changes we have to make with how we do business,” he said. “It is difficult in that we never wanted to be asking people about their health status. We have to be cautious but it is another step in getting life back to the way we knew it.”

‘It has been a struggle’

Danny Collins was looking forward to reopening the Boston Bar in Bantry, west Cork after a year of many sleepless nights due to worries about keeping the business afloat.

“I have been going through my savings to pay the mortgage as we were only open for a couple of weeks last year,” the independent councillor said.

“It has been a struggle. Of course there were other bills as well. To have your pub cameras, you had to pay the internet bill. I was also advised to keep my cooler system running. In the winter, I had to put on the heating.”

Mr Collins said he was apprehensive about all the different regulations that will have to be complied with as indoor service returns, such as staffing all entrances, and that finding employees had been a struggle for those in the sector.

“I think the PUP [Pandemic Unemployment Payment] should be reviewed at this point,” he said.

‘We can’t wait to open’

In Cork city, publican Ernest Cantillon will be opening Electric bar/restaurant and Sober Lane bar this week.

During the pandemic, he set up an online cocktail sales business and sold takeaway food, allowing him to keep a core team of about 15 people employed despite his business only opening as a traditional pub for a couple of weeks last year.

“We have also shifted to a new model of opening four evenings a week,” he said. “We are opening next Wednesday through Saturday and then staff will have three days off. That has been a key factor in staff retention and recruitment. We are going to give it a go. We can’t wait to open.”

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Germany’s flood zones spared severe storms on Saturday



In the west of the country, the fire brigade reported a quiet night in the flood areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine Westphalia.

The situation remains tense, however, with local thunderstorms forecast in some parts of Germany from midday on Sunday — most likely south of the Danube.

Further heavy rain and hail were also possible again, according to the German Weather Service (DWD), which publishes storm warnings.

READ ALSO: WEATHER: German flood zones at risk of further storms

The latest storms came just days after parts of the country were hit by devastating floods after torrential rains that ravaged entire villages and left 180 people dead, hundreds injured and with many still missing.

The flooding also caused damage in Belgium, where 37 people died, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

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Prosecutors allege R Kelly had sexual contact with under-age boy



US prosecutors in R Kelly’s sex trafficking case say he had sexual contact with an under-age boy in addition to girls, and the government wants jurors in his upcoming sex-trafficking trial to hear those claims.

Federal prosecutors aired a wide-ranging raft of additional allegations – but not new charges – against the R&B singer in a court filing on Friday.

Jury selection is due to start August 9th in a New York federal court for Kelly, who denies ever abusing anyone.

The Grammy Award-winning singer is charged with leading what prosecutors call a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards and other employees who allegedly helped him to recruit women and girls for sex and pornography and to exercise control over them.

The charges involve six different women and girls, who are not named in court filings.

Now, prosecutors would also like jurors to hear about more than a dozen other people whom the government alleges that Kelly sexually or physically abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated.

Among them, the government says, was a 17-year-old boy and aspiring musician whom Kelly met at a McDonald’s in December 2006 and later invited to his Chicago studio.

According to the prosecutors’ court filing, after asking the boy what he would do to make it in the music business, Kelly propositioned and had sexual contact with him while he was still under-age.

And when Kelly was about to go on trial on child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, the same youth told the singer he had access to a juror, and Kelly asked him to contact the juror and vouch he was a “good guy”, prosecutors wrote.

The filing does not say whether the youth did so. Kelly was acquitted in that case.

The boy also introduced Kelly to a 16- or 17-year-old male friend, with whom prosecutors say the singer began a sexual relationship several years later.

Kelly also filmed the two youths in sexual encounters with other people, including some of Kelly’s girlfriends, according to the filing.

Prosecutors wrote that the accounts of the boys and others would help show that the actual charges “were not isolated events and were part of a larger pattern”.

The multiplatinum-selling singer, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is known for work including the 1996 hit I Believe I Can Fly and the cult classic Trapped In The Closet, a multi-part tale of sexual betrayal and intrigue.

Kelly’s private life has drawn scrutiny since the 1990s, and he currently is also facing sex-related charges in Illinois and Minnesota. He has pleaded not guilty.– AP

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