Prisoner tried to smuggle drugs after compassionate leave

Court House-07A remand prisoner with gang links who was given compassionate leave to visit a terminally ill uncle tried to smuggle synthetic cannabis back into Christchurch Men’s Prison when he returned.

Tyrone George Michael Whittaker has now been jailed for three years for aggravated robbery and burglary by Christchurch District Court Judge Jane Farish.

The judge said she was “disappointed” to hear that outcome of compassionate leave that had been granted to the 19-year-old, who was being held in custody for a crime involving a group of Black Power associates.

“Unfortunately, although he did honour his bail in terms of going back to the prison – which was excellent – he was caught on his return with illicit substances,” she said.

The substance was synthetic cannabis, which was also the drug involved in the robbery. The judge suggested that he should seek help in prison during his sentence to deal with his drug problem.

Whittaker has not been charged over the drug, but will face action by the prison authorities.

Whittaker was one of a group of four Black Power associates who went to a Christchurch tinny house that was selling synthetic cannabis, and took $4000 worth of household items, jewellery, electronic gear, and $1000 cash.

Others already sentenced have said they saw the raid as a “public service” against people doing harm to the community.

Whittaker also admitted going to a house in Colombo Street, St Albans, where he had a discussion with the occupants and took $100 cash and a phone. That resulted in a burglary charge.

The judge jailed him and gave him a first strike warning under the system that imposes heavier penalties on repeat violent offenders.



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