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Prison-visit mum had sleeping pills hidden in her bra

A MOTHER of five who tried to smuggle sleeping tablets into Mountjoy jail in her bra claimed she had put them there so her child would not get them, then forgot about them.

Adele Kenny (34) was found in possession of the tablets during a random search of visitors at the prison, but insisted they were for herself and she was not smuggling them.

Judge Catherine Staines found her guilty but left her without a conviction.

Kenny, of Monasterboice Road, Crumlin, had denied a charge of attempting to smuggle drugs at the prison on September 1, 2009.

Prison officer Lisa Delaney told Dublin District Court the accused was brought in for a random search. As she was being searched, Kenny handed Ms Delaney a package she had concealed in her bra. The officer believed it to be an illegal substance, so it was placed in an evidence bag and the gardai were called.

The package was found to contain 17 sleeping tablets which were not illegal drugs. Barrister John Berry argued that if they had been found anywhere else there would be no charge before the court.

The accused had also maintained throughout her interview that the tablets were for herself and nobody else.

The prison's second-in-charge, Governor Hector McLennan, told the court all medication in the prison was under tight control and any form of tablets being brought in by visitors were prohibited.

"Tablets are used as barter tools, they can be used as contraband and as a currency within the prison", Mr McLennan said.

Even medication prescribed to prisoners was not given to them but held by nurses and dispensed at specific times.

Mr Berry said there was no published list of prohibited articles but Mr McLennan said drugs were specifically mentioned on warning signs within the prison.

In evidence, the defendant said she went to Mountjoy every week to see her brother. She had not been sleeping at the time and "swapped" tablets she had for her friend's sleeping tablets earlier in the day. She was afraid her four-year-old daughter would get them so she put them in her bra.