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​Sydney legal clerk caught smuggling contraband to an inmate during legal visit

Publication date: Thursday, 21 December 2017

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A Sydney legal clerk will be sentenced today after being caught on security cameras smuggling five packets of tobacco to a correctional centre inmate.

Correctional officers monitoring CCTV of the legal visits area at the Metropolitan Remand and Reception Centre in Sydney's west observed the legal clerk moving his feet under a table as the inmate reached to the floor, picked up the item and placed it in his clothing.

CSNSW Commissioner Peter Severin said it was disappointing that someone with a legal background would take advantage of their position to risk the safety and security of a correctional centre.

"This legal clerk was a regular visitor to a number of our correctional centres and it is absolutely unacceptable that he would break the law in this way," Mr Severin said.

"Corrective Services NSW staff work tirelessly to detect and remove contraband from our centres.

"I commend the work of the custodial staff, who were monitoring the CCTV that day and who were quick to notice and act on this suspicious behaviour."

Correctional officers immediately terminated the visit following the incident and notified NSW Police, who were supplied with the CCTV footage. The 54-year-old inmate was searched and the five packets of tobacco were retrieved.

The legal clerk was charged with unlawfully delivering or attempting to deliver anything to an inmate and was convicted in absence at Burwood Local Court on 13 December. He is banned from entering any correctional centre.

Mr Severin said smoking was banned at all correctional centres in August 2015, reducing the harmful effects of tobacco smoke on hard-working staff.

"Since smoking was banned in correctional centres, the value of tobacco to inmates is much greater and is much sought after," Mr Severin said.

"Corrective Services NSW is focused on detecting and intercepting all contraband in our prisons and takes a zero tolerance approach."

Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the grounds of a correctional centre and complex including car parks and walkways.

Correctional centre visitors are reminded anyone caught bringing contraband into prisons face penalties of up to two years' imprisonment. Another penalty is a ban on visits of up to two years.

CCTV footage is available for download here: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/m3EIY7xc4j