A prison officer allegedly accepted $70 as payment for smuggling a cell phone to an inmate at Her Majesty’s Prison at Balsam Ghut, a prosecutor said Friday.

Steve Morton, 37, a six-year veteran of the prison service, pleaded not guilty in Magistrates’ Court Friday to the charges of abuse of office and breach of trust by a public officer. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisonment.

Principal Crown Counsel Tiffany Scatliffe alleged that between Aug. 27 and Sept. 10, Mr. Morton approached an inmate on remand, James John, and arranged to meet a “source” outside the prison. The source gave Mr. Morton $70 and a black cell phone, which was later recovered hidden in a mattress during a Sept. 10 search of Mr. John’s cell, the Crown counsel said.

After prison officials conducted an internal investigation, the matter was turned over to police, Ms. Scatliffe said.

Magistrate Tamia Richards ordered Mr. Morton’s travel documents, including his United States green card, to be kept in police custody, but she granted the prison officer a $65,000 bail offer with one signed surety.

See the Nov. 8, 2012 edition for full coverage.



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