Corrections officer loses smuggling appeal

  • The entrance to the Westgate Correctional Facility in Dockyard (File photograph)

    The entrance to the Westgate Correctional Facility in Dockyard (File photograph)

A prison officer convicted of an attempt to smuggle a mobile phone to an inmate has lost an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Kadeem Abraham admitted that he had accepted an item to take to an inmate, but claimed he only took it so he could examine it.

Marc Daniels, lawyer for Abraham, argued Magistrates’ Court did not take his client’s story — that he had taken the item as part of his duty as a prison officer — into account. But Assistant Justice Jeffrey Elkinson found that Abraham had broken the rules when he did not at once stop the inmate and inform the chief prison officer.

Mr Justice Elkinson said in his April 1 judgment: “The court below heard evidence of the proper procedure that is to be followed and there appears to be no question that specified immediate action should have been taken by Abraham upon receiving into his possession the package from the remand prisoner. On its face, what he did is inexcusable, not only in the light of the training which he had received and what the rules are, but common sense.”

Magistrates’ Court heard at Abraham’s trial that in July 2016, Abraham was working as a prison officer at Westgate jail.

The chief officer received “certain information” on the day of the incident and brought Abraham to the boardroom in the prison’s administration area.

Abraham denied having anything on him and emptied his pockets but, from the last pocket, he produced a blue-and-white mayonnaise packet wrapped in plastic wrap.

After officers found a small mobile phone inside, Abraham named the inmate who gave him the package and said he had been asked to take it to another inmate in the maximum security area of the prison.

He insisted he only accepted it so he could examine the package, but never got the chance.

Abraham was found guilty after trial, but appealed the verdict.

Mr Justice Elkinson added it was “not surprising” the magistrate had dismissed Abraham’s defence.

He said: “The decision of the magistrate was correct and in light of the evidence given, not least by the appellant himself, little elaboration was needed.”

He ordered Abraham back to Magistrates’ Court for sentence.

The maximum penalty for smuggling contraband in prisons on a summary conviction is 12 months in jail.

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