Man jailed for 14 months after traces of heroin were found in prison cell

A prison inmate has been jailed for 14 months after heroin traces were found in his prison cell in 2012

The accused was handed a 17-month prison sentence and was also ordered to pay the costs of appointing court experts
The accused was handed a 17-month prison sentence and was also ordered to pay the costs of appointing court experts

A prison inmate has been jailed for 14 months after heroin traces were found in his prison cell in 2012.

34-year-old Andrew Bezzina was accused of possession of heroin, attempting to smuggle prohibited substances into prison and breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence, a probation order and a conditional discharge for another offence.

Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras had heard a senior correctional officer testify that after receiving a tip-off, officers had searched the accused's cell in Division 12, discovering pieces of burnt foil, traces of drugs as well as a makeshift paper pipe, hidden under a magazine. Bezzina had no cellmates, the court was told.

The officer had recalled the accused saying “you know what it is” when he was asked to identify the burnt substance on the foil. A court expert had later tested the substance and confirmed it to be heroin.

The court held that whilst it had been shown that the man had been in possession of drugs in prison, there was no evidence led the court to find guilt on the smuggling charge. The charge of breaching a suspended sentence was withdrawn during the proceedings and no copy of the sentence imposing the probation order had been exhibited. Bezzina was thus cleared of these charges.

He was, however, found guilty of relapsing and breaching a conditional discharge, the court noting that the crime had taken place during the three-year period of mandatory good behaviour imposed by that sentence.

Bezzina was handed a 17-month prison sentence and was also ordered to pay the costs of appointing court experts. The court requested the Director of Prisons to provide the necessary assistance to get the man to kick his drug habit.

Inspector Jurgen Vella prosecuted.

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