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Prison pills smuggler 'was under threat'

A DUBLIN woman caught smuggling sedative tablets into jail believed she was under a threat that she would be "cut up" if she refused, a court heard.

Alison Smith (32) had the pills on her when she was searched as she was on her way to visit her partner at Cloverhill prison.

Judge David McHugh gave her a three-month suspended sentence at Blanchardstown District Court.

Smith, of Clanbrassil Street, pleaded guilty to possession of Zimovane with the intention of unlawfully bringing it into Cloverhill on September 8 last.

The court heard the defendant was searched in the custody area and admitted she had 22 tablets concealed on her person, Sgt Maria Callaghan said.

Gardai were called and Smith was arrested and brought to Ronanstown garda station, where she co-operated.

Sgt Callaghan said the value of the drugs was €110.

OFFENCES

Smith had no previous convictions for similar offences, but had seven for others, including criminal damage.

The accused maintained the value of the drugs was €20.

"She has indicated that, in her own words, she would be cut up if she didn't bring in the stuff," Smith's solicitor Caroline Egan said. "She believed it to be a genuine threat, she knows she shouldn't have done it, but she was caught in this unfortunate trap."

The court heard Smith had drug and alcohol problems in the past and had been in and out of hospital. She contracted MRSA in hospital, and walked with a crutch.

Judge McHugh said it was a serious charge for which the court had to consider an outright custodial sentence.

"She wouldn't have a hope in my view of escaping an outright prison sentence in the event of her repeating (the offence)," the judge said.

"This will be my first and last time," the defendant told him.

APHELAN@HERALD.IE


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