Prison officer smuggled drugs to murderer

A PRISON officer faces up to 10 years behind bars for smuggling drugs to a convicted murderer in order to feed his own habit, a court heard yesterday.

Dillon O’Brien also pleaded guilty to sneaking alcohol and mobile phones in to four prisoners in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison.

The 37-year-old father-of-three and the two co-accused – an inmate and his brother – will be sentenced on Monday.

Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard O’Brien first smuggled a mobile phone infor his wife’s friend when her partner was jailed.

His barrister revealed he then joined Total Fitness in Blanchardstown where he mingled with the criminal fraternity and started bringing contraband into the prison in return for cocaine, which he regularly used.

A stash of mobile phones, sim cards and traces of cocaine were discovered in his home on Charnwood Meadows, Clonsilla, on March 15, 2007. Seamus Clarke, prosecuting, also revealed that the phone numbers of two well-known criminals were also on his mobile phone.

O’Brien pleaded guilty to six separate charges, which included smuggling mobiles phones, vodka and drugs in to an inmate between January 2005 and March 2007 and conspiring to smuggle. He also admitted possession of cocaine in his home.

Thomas Hinchon – jailed for life in 2005 for shooting Jonathan O’Reilly outside Cloverhill Prison – pleaded guilty to two charges, with a third to be taken into account.

His brother Sean Hinchon, of St Ronan’s Close Clondalkin, admitted two charges of smuggling contraband.

O’Brien joined the prison service in January 2000 and five years later was promoted to be in charge of a landing.

Michael O’Higgins said his client was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1998 and after surgery had joined the gym.

The barrister said O’Brien got an unhealthy obsession with the gym and started taking steroids, while already taking ecstasy and cocaine.

He maintained his client was a vulnerable person who “liked to be liked”.

Although paid €150 twice for his actions, he made no financial gain and was usually given cocaine, he said.

Mr O’Higgins said O’Brien, who regretted his action and is now drug-free, faced the prospect of being confined to solitary behind bars.

The court heard the amount of drugs brought to Hinchon, 30, was only enough for his personal use.

Meanwhile his 32-year-old brother, an unemployed father-of-one, had only ever been before the court for motoring offences and has no links with a criminal gang.

Judge Katherine Delahunt adjourned sentencing until Monday, to allow Sean Hinchon the weekend to celebrate his son’s birthday.


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