Prison nurse jailed for supplying drugs to inmates

47-year-old former prison nurse jailed for 18 months after admitting to smuggling drugs into prison.

A 47-year-old former prison nurse was this morning jailed for 18 months after she was found guilty of smuggling drugs into jail in 2009.

Jacqueline Dipasquale, 47, of Hamrun, was also found guilty of supplying drugs to two prisoners while she was working as a prison nurse at Corradino Correctional Facility in Paola.

The woman was also found guilty of trafficking 8.2 grams of heroin, of being in possession of 3.3 grams of cannabis in circumstances that denoted that it was not for her personal use, and of being in possession of psychotropic drugs without a licence.

The case goes back to December 2, 2009 when Drug Squad police found heroin and cannabis hidden in the accused’s cardigan pocket. During her interrogation, Dipasquale admitted that the drugs were for prisoners and also have police the name of the supplier, as well as the names of the prisoners for whom the drugs were intended.

Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras heard that Dipasquele had hidden three sachets of cannabis in her vagina, as well as Tramal and Voltaren pills in her handbag.

The accused said that in exchange for the drugs, Dipasquele said she would receive €50 from the prisoner’s brother, and it was he who supplied the drugs. Moreover, she said that she had been supplying another inmate drugs and alcohol for about a month and a half, and in exchange she would receive €50 for every consignment.

The court also heard that  the nurse had never abused of drugs, and that she used to smuggle the Tramal and Voltaren pills because “she felt sorry” for the prisoners who were suffering from drug withdrawal symptoms.

Moreover, the court heard that she could not remember how many times she had smuggled drugs but told police that she had been doing it for around three months. She said that during this period she supplied drugs, suspected of being heroin, to a prison inmate.

In her judgment, Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras heard that even though the amount of drugs was not considerable, the drugs were nevertheless smuggled into prison – a place meant to serve as a rehabilitation centre.

However, the court argued that the punishment should be mitigated because Dipasquele’s cooperation with the police led to the arrest of other people who allegedly supplied her the drugs.

The alleged suppliers, Rita Camilleri, 45, of Hamrun, and Kevin Zammit, 42, of Pieta, were charged a day after the accused’s arraignment in 2009. Their cases are still ongoing.

The magistrate therefore jailed Dipasquele for 18 months and fined her €1,200. She also ordered her to pay €300 in court expenses, and also requested that Dipasquele kept in a separate prison division from that of the recipients of the drugs.

Police Inspector Pierre Grech prosecuted.