Alexander Maconochie Centre inmate Suliman Negah’s term extended over drugs in underwear | The Canberra Times



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A convicted drug trafficker will have to serve at least one extra month in Canberra’s jail after he confessed to having drugs in his underwear, or what he called “a drop in my jocks”. Suliman Negah, 29, was nine months into a four-year prison sentence when he was ushered into a secure room to be searched after receiving a visit on February 22. A sniffer dog made its way along a line of six Alexander Maconochie Centre inmates and sat in front of Negah, indicating to guards that he may be carrying illicit substances. When asked if he had any contraband on him, Negah replied: “Yes, I have a drop in my jocks.” Negah subsequently handed over “a golf ball-sized item wrapped in glad wrap”. Inside the package were 34 strips containing buprenorphine, which is a prescription opioid, and more than 16 grams of cannabis. Negah was later charged with possessing a prohibited thing as a detainee and possessing a declared substance without authorisation. He pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, and appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court for sentence on Thursday afternoon. Prosecutor Isabella Coker said Magistrate James Stewart really had no option but to impose another term of imprisonment, given Negah was already a sentenced prisoner. Ms Coker told the court Negah claimed to have been pressured by fellow inmates to get them drugs, but she dismissed this explanation as “a self-serving statement”. But when Negah addressed Mr Stewart while representing himself, he said he could not hide from the fact he had done the wrong thing. “I take total responsibility for my actions,” he said. “I don’t have any excuse for why I did it.” Mr Stewart ultimately agreed with Ms Coker’s submission that a further jail sentence was the only appropriate option. He imposed a penalty of four months in jail but made half of it concurrent with Negah’s existing four-year term, extending the 29-year-old’s head sentence by two months. Mr Stewart also added one month to what had been a two-year non-parole period, meaning Negah will now become eligible for release in June 2021. The magistrate commented that observers may consider this outcome “a little gentle”. But he said he believed an extra month behind bars would have a significant impact on Negah, whose time on parole would also ultimately be longer than initially anticipated. “Learn from the mistake,” Mr Stewart told Negah. “If you do that again, the penalty can only increase and the head sentence and non-parole period will be nasty.”

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