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Woman smuggled tablets into jail

BY LOUIS ANDREW, COURT REPORTER
04 Jul, 2011 06:56 AM
A magistrate has warned that penalties facing people who try to smuggle drugs into Canberras prison aren’t strong enough to deter would-be offenders.Magistrate Peter Dingwall made the comments on Friday when sentencing a woman who stashed a banned prescription drug in her bra and tried to sneak it past jail security. 

Naomi Catherine Pegg pleaded guilty to taking a prohibited item into a correctional facility, as well as possessing a drug of dependence, and an unrelated trespassing offence.

The 34-year-old was convicted and fined $750 on the smuggling charge, which carried a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1100 under the territory’s Corrections Management Act.

Mr Dingwall said it was a surprisingly low penalty and questioned whether the punishment was adequate as a general deterrent.

Pegg arrived at the Alexander Maconochie Centre on the afternoon of March 24, intending to visit an inmate.

Two corrective services officers stopped her as she was entering the visitors centre after sniffer dogs picked up the scent of contraband, according to a statement of facts.

The Florey woman admitted to the officers she was carrying four tablets of buprenorphine in a balloon stashed inside her bra.

Buprenorphine is a prescription medication used to treat heroin addiction which has also found its way into the drugs black market.

Territory law lists it as a controlled substance.

Pegg said she was intending to give the tablets to a prisoner, and was subsequently detained by staff until police arrived.

Mr Dingwall noted inmates often pressured people into trying to smuggle drugs into prison.

Pegg was given 12 months to pay the fine and court costs.

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