1 Dec 2017

Guard sentenced for smuggling goods into prison

12:38 pm on 1 December 2017

A former Auckland prison guard who smuggled cellphones and cigarettes into Mt Eden prison has been sentenced to 12 months home detention.

Mt Eden Prison.

Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Farani Junior Fa'apoi last month pleaded guilty to three charges of corruption.

His offences took place in May 2015 while he was employed by Serco, serving as a gateway between inmates and contacts on the outside. Serco's contract at Mt Eden ended in March, after an investigation into reports of "fight clubs".

Fa'apoi pleaded guilty to two charges of corruption for smuggling in cellphones and another charge for bringing in cigarettes.

In his sentencing at the High Court in Auckland this morning Justice Venning said Fa'apoi betrayed the trust of the public and his employer for his own monetary gain.

He said the 37-year-old was still a relatively new employee when the smuggling began and acknowledged there were threats and pressure from the prisoners to do so.

But the judge said Fa'apoi should have reported what was happening to his supervisors instead of being swept up in the crime.

He said Fa'apoi knew what he was doing because he received money for it.

Justice Venning said Fa'apoi's offences warranted a prison sentence and that he was on a "knife edge".

But he said Fa'apoi was truly remorseful, had a low likelihood of re-offending and no previous convictions.

He said Fa'apoi would have to undertake all assessments and counselling programmes directed by his probation officer and would not be able to move addresses unless previously approved.

Family members were at the sentencing today but declined to comment outside the courtroom.