A 19-year-old has been convicted and sentenced to a six-month conditional release order for carrying opioids into a Sydney correctional centre.
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Rhys Myers of Simpson Street, Wellington, appeared in Dubbo Local Court on March 1, and pleaded guilty to bringing a prohibited drug into a place of detention.
Magistrate Aaron Tang noted it was the teen's first time before a court, but told him the offence was particularly serious and carried a maximum penalty of two years in prison.
"Jails are a place to get drug-free. There are issues that significantly contribute to [offenders] being in jail, so when there's an introduction of drugs in the system... security is involved and it is contributing to a cycle of crime when they're released," Mr Tang said.
Court documents state Myers drove about five to six hours, on November 26 last year, for a scheduled visit with an inmate in Sydney's Parklea Correctional Centre. He was accompanied by another teenager on the trip.
When they arrived at about 9.53am for Myers' 10am visit, staff conducting visitor searches were alerted to him by a detection dog.
A correctional officer who was the dog's handler, took them both into a separate room for questioning. The officer's body-worn camera footage showed Myers denied having anything on his person at first, but later took out a small pink coloured package from his trouser pocket and placed it on the table.
The package weighed 3.56 grams and contained 52 full strips of Buprenorphine.
Myers was told he would be detained while police were called. After four hours, when police weren't able to attend, Myers and the teenager were released from detention.
Two days later, police went to the prison to take the evidence and footage. On December 19, Wellington police went to Myers' home to follow up with the incident.
Myers was asked if he knew what was in the package and he said he did not know. Police asked if he knew it was illegal to bring illicit substances into a correctional facility and he said "yeah".
According to police, Myers was 'highly compliant and cooperative" during his interaction with them.
In court, defence lawyer Scott Affleck handed up his client's letter of remorse as well as a sentence assessment report.
He submitted that Myers had a lot of family support and was currently unemployed due to an injury but would eventually return to his work as a mechanic.
Mr Affleck said it was his client's "lack of assertiveness" and "inability to say no" that led to the offence.
Given Myers' youth and lack of a record the lawyer requested the court to proceed without a conviction.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Adam Corrigan said a deterrent was needed for Myers and others to stop such crimes.
Mr Tang afforded the offender a 25 per cent discount for saving the court's time by pleading guilty early on.
He also noted Myers' genuine remorse but said it was important to give weight to the general deterrence, a sentencing principle that stops others from committing the same offence and protects the community.
"There are no drug and alcohol issues for yourself so it makes it less excusable that you're involved in couriering drugs," Mr Tang said.
"A criminal record will probably affect you, not only [in terms of] work prospects, but travel and finance aspects. I'm not persuaded that you should not be convicted."
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