Valmai Anne Morrison faced the District Court in Mackay.
Valmai Anne Morrison faced the District Court in Mackay.

Granny used coded messages to get drugs into jail

A NORTH Mackay grandmother who snuck drugs into prison for her former partner using coded phone conversations received a birthday present in a Mackay court.

Valmai Anne Morrison avoided jail time after supplying several strips of the opiate buprenorphine to co-offender and addict Benjamin Arnold, who had been behind bars in Capricornia Correctional Centre.

Morrison, 45, appeared before Judge Julie Dick in the District Court in Mackay on Tuesday - her birthday - pleading guilty to aggravated supply of dangerous drugs in a correctional facility.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Wallace said the serious offence occurred between December 14-31, 2014, but investigative and prosecution delays held up the court case.

He said police intercepted a package for Arnold in December, 2014 which contained the buprenorphine.

"Between December 14 and December 31, he (Arnold) and Ms Morrison engaged in a number of conversations facilitating supply ... ," he said.

"On December 30 as a result of intelligence authorities were able to intercept a package. It was relatively rudimentary, the setup.

"On August 8, 2016 there was a conversation with the defendant (and police). She (Morrison) admitted to posting the parcel, but (initially) denied writing the sender details on it, touching the parcel or attaching the buprenorphine strips."

Mr Wallace said Morrison had a criminal history stretching back to 2006, which included assault, contravening police directions, possession of cannabis and possession of drug paraphernalia.

"Ms Morrison is no stranger to the criminal justice system, but it is of note that the most significant penalty she had received is 12 months probations," he said.

Defence barrister Stephen Byrne said until the start of 2017, Morrison "had a history of drug dependency dating back a number of years".

Since then, she has regularly been involved in a methadone program and attending drug and alcohol counselling, Mr Byrne said.

The defence lawyer said Morrison had known Arnold for about eight years and they'd had a volatile relationship, in which Morrison was assaulted.

"She had told him the relationship is over, but he continues to telephone her at least once a day," Mr Byrne said.

In addition, he said Morrison has been seeking psychological help following diagnoses of depression and anxiety.

Judge Dick said supplying drugs to prisoners marked "deliberate defiance of the whole system".

But she considered Morrison's rehabilitative efforts, timely plea, the delay in the court case and her "destructive" relationship history with Arnold.

Judge Dick sentenced Morrison to 12 months jail, suspended immediately.

If Morrison re-offends in any way within 18 months she will have to reappear before the court.

Arnold was sentenced to 12 months jail on May 5, 2017.



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