A convicted murderer has been handed an additional sentence for possessions of drugs while in Mountjoy Prison.
Stephen Penrose (39) with an address at Cloverhill Prison pleaded guilty to a count of possession of diamorphine for sale and supply at Mountjoy Prison on January 29th, 2020. He is currently serving a life sentence for murder.
Imposing sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court on Tuesday, Judge Pauline Codd said it is an aggravating factor that Penrose is serving a sentence and the offence was committed in prison.
She said there had to be a deterrence to prevent people bringing drugs into prison, which is “already a difficult enough place”.
Judge Codd handed Penrose a two-and-a-half year prison sentence to run concurrent with his existing sentence.
Garda Deirdre Gill told Katherine McGillicuddy BL, prosecuting, that on the day in question, Penrose was receiving a supervised visit from another person, who is understood to have been his partner at that time.
During the visit, one of the prison officers noted Penrose lean across the table to kiss his partner. Penrose was seen placing his right hand in her pocket and removing a package, which he attempted to conceal.
When prison officers intervened, Penrose appeared to panic and attempted to pass the package back to her. She then gave the package to prison officers.
The package contained four smaller packages. These included a mobile phone, 49.2 grammes of diamorphine, with an estimated value of €6,874 and 113 zopiclone tablets, with a value of €226.
After arrest, Penrose initially said he did not receive the drugs, but then changed his story and made admissions. He said he did not know about the package until the visit. Penrose said his partner told him to give the package to another individual in prison, but he did not say who.
Penrose has 34 previous convictions, including for one for murder and six for possession of drugs.
Defence counsel said his client apologised for his actions. He also noted that the drugs had been brought to the prison for a third party.
In mitigation, Judge Codd noted Penrose's guilty plea, his apology and expressions of remorse.
While Penrose is already serving a long sentence, Judge Codd said a deterrence must be imposed to “mark the seriousness of the offence”.