Court

Westgate officers jailed for smuggling

  • Westgate Correctional Facility (File photograph by Akil Simmons)

Two prison officers were put behind bars in the space of a week for smuggling contraband into Westgate prison, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

Art Simons, 43, was jailed for two years after he was convicted of taking cannabis and cannabis resin into Westgate hidden inside toiletries with intent to supply.

Simons, from Devonshire, was jailed a week after Kadeem Abraham, 30, was imprisoned for nine months for an attempt to take a mobile phone to a Westgate prisoner.

However, Wayne Caines, the national security minister, said he was confident that the vast majority of prison officers had integrity and discharged their duties well.

Simons, who was also charged with an attempt to take contraband into the prison, was sentenced on Monday in Magistrates’ Court.

Simons won a Supreme Court appeal in 2018 that overturned his original conviction in Magistrates’ Court.

But the higher court did not dismiss the charge and ordered that Simons stand trial again before a different judge.

The case was sent back to Magistrates’ Court, where Simons was convicted in March before magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo.

Simons was convicted of possession with intent to supply of 5.66 grams of cannabis worth $287. He was also found guilty of having 0.62 grams of cannabis resin worth $50, also with intent to supply.

Simons was also found guilty of attempting to bring into the prison a shower gel container and a deodorant container, which had Scotch tape, cigarette papers and a twist of tobacco hidden inside.

The court heard that the toiletries were left in the shower area of the prison.

The offences happened in January 2015.

Simons was sentenced to a year on the first charge, nine months on count two, and six months on the third count.

Each sentence carried an extra 12 months for offences inside an increased penalty zone, which includes Westgate.

But the judge ordered that the sentences should be concurrent.

Abraham, 30, from Warwick, was sentenced on July 1 in Magistrates’ Court.

The officer was caught in July 2016 with a small mobile phone inside a mayonnaise packet hidden in his pocket.

Abraham admitted to senior staff that the phone was intended for an inmate in maximum security.

Magistrate Tyrone Chin sentenced him to nine months’ imprisonment.

Mr Caines said yesterday: “We have full confidence in the integrity of our corrections officers.

“Where officers are found in breach of the law, they can expect to be held accountable for their actions.”

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