Prison officer jailed for conveying cigarettes into prison; charged with Marijuana possession

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The accused, Seon Paul. [iNews' Photo]
The accused, Seon Paul. [iNews’ Photo]
[www.inewsguyana.com] – A Prison Officer who admitted to smuggling packs of cigarettes into the Georgetown Prisons was sentenced to six months in jail today (January 15) by Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

Ceon Paul of Lot 1 Bent Street, Werk-en-Rust Georgetown faced two charges when he appeared at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

It is alleged that January 12 at Georgetown Prisons he had 30 grams of cannabis in his possession for the purpose of trafficking. The Court heard too that on the same day the Prison Officer conveyed eight packs of cigarettes and a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card, both prohibited articles, into the Camp Street facility.

While Paul denied the drug trafficking charge, he confessed to taking two packs of cigarettes into prison. He was unrepresented by legal counsel.

Police Prosecutor Bharat Mangru told the Court that on the day in question, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Cameron searched Paul and found one pack of Bristol cigarettes in his right-side pants pocket and another in his right side-side shirt pocket while six packs were stashed in his crotch.

He said that the ASP also observed a transparent bag under his left hand. When he checked, it contained a quantity of leaves, seeds and stems suspected to be marijuana.

The Defendant told the Court that he has been working at the facility for more than a year. In tears, he said he would see the Officer-in-Charge take cigarettes into prison and give prisoners while they are in the yard.

Paul explained that he too started taking in the prohibited articles and questioned why he was being charged.

The Chief Magistrate, however, told him that despite his claims that others have done it, it is not right. Paul was told that aside from the sentence, being guilty of this crime makes him (a Prison Officer) liable to forfeit his office, monies and pension owed.

In sentencing, she considered that he pleaded guilty and saved the Court’s time, the prevalence and seriousness of the offence as well as the aggravating factors in his favour. She noted too that he, a Prison Officer, is responsible for with up keeping the law.

The drug trafficking case was transferred and Paul will face Magistrate Ann McLennan on January 29.

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