Supplied drugs to friend in prison

Derry Journal - online and in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.
Derry Journal - online and in print on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

A man who supplied drugs to his friend in prison to pay off a drugs debt has been jailed for four months.

The 37-year-old, who cannot be named because of an anonymity order, pleaded guilty to supplying class C drugs on March 25, last year.

He admitted a further charge of conveying listed articles into HMP Magilligan on the same date.

Derry Crown Court heard the defendant was in HMP Magilligan visiting a friend when prison officers saw “unauthorised articles” being passed between them. They detained and searched the prisoner and the 37-year-old was arrested by police.

During the search of the prisoner, he was found to be in possession of a number of items which had to be sent for forensic analysis.

These were later found to be 0.78 grams of buprenorphine and 31 diazepam tablets, both of which are class C drugs.

The defendant was interviewed by police and denied passing anything to his friend. When he was shown CCTV footage of the visiting area he claimed an item he could be seen handing to the prisoner was a piece of paper and he was “looking for a pen to write information down”.

It was revealed the defendant has 150 previous convictions, including convictions for possessing drugs, and is currently serving a sentence that ends mid 2014.

Defence barrister Ivor McAteer told the court the reason given by his client for what he did was “effectively to write off a drug debt” as he was spending up to £200 a week on drugs.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington said conveying listed articles into prison is a “most serious matter”.

He said that when “people have a drug problem dealers take advantage of them. They don’t really care what happens to you and until you break your habit you are not going to be able to escape their clutches”. The judge imposed a four month sentence which will run consecutively to the defendant’s current sentence.