A Northern Ireland man who smuggled drugs into Magilligan Prison, by putting them into a chocolate Kinder egg and then inserting it into his rectum, has been given a 10-month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
Twenty-five years old Aaron McCusker, who is originally from the Glenowen area of Londonderry but who now lives at Windlesham Gardens in Brighton in Essex, was nearing the end of a six month jail sentence imposed for other drugs offences when he was caught.
He served the remainder of his sentence in solitary confinement.
A Public Prosecution Service barrister told Judge Philip Babington, at the Crown Court in Derry, that on February 25th, 2015, McCusker returned to the prison following a week-end release.
He was seen by prison officers throwing a yellow object behind a traffic sign outside the prison gates. The object was a chocolate Kinder egg and inside it the prison officers found drugs.
McCusker was then placed into a clean cell and the following day the prison officers recovered a second chocolate Kinder egg inside the cell.
The two eggs contained quantities of the drugs fentanyl, diazepam, cannabis and buprenorphine.
The prosecutor said the police were alerted but the prison governor refused to allow them to arrest and interview McCusker because he was still a serving prisoner.
One month later after he'd completed his prison sentence McCusker left Magilligan Prison and went to Brighton to live with his uncle, a school teacher, to enable him to escape from the drugs scene in Derry.
McCusker was arrested by the police at Belfast International Airport on April 28 of last year when he returned to Northern Ireland to visit his grandmother. Following his arrest he was taken to Strand Road Police Station where he made full admissions to twelve separate drugs charges related to the discovery of the drugs inside and outside Magilligan Prison.
"He told the police he had inserted one of the Kinder eggs into his rectum but that because he could not fit the second one in, he decided to throw it away when he arrived at Magilligan Prison. He also said he was under the influence of diazepam at the time", the barrister said.
Defence barrister Dean Mooney said McCusker's life had undergone a "stark transformation and a sea change" since his prison release. He said when awaiting sentencing for a previous drugs offence in October 2014, McCusker was rescued from the River Foyle by members of the Foyle Search And Rescue.
He said McCusker, with the help of his uncle, managed to obtain a full time job shortly after he arrived in Brighton where he worked for an electrical supplier who was impressed by McCusker's work ethic.
Mr. Mooney said the drugs recovered in the two Kinder eggs were for McCusker's personal use and he had no intention of supplying them to other prisoners in Magilligan Prison. The barrister said since moving to Brighton McCusker had complied with all of the instructions given to him by local probation officers.
Judge Babington told McCusker, who had eleven previous criminal convictions, seven of them for drugs offences, that his uncle had offered him a life line.
Judge Babington said drugs in the prison system were a constant problem and that McCusker, by his offending, has passed the custody threshold.
"This court has a responsibility to the community and while sentencing guidelines for cases of this nature suggest an immediate custodial sentence, they are guidelines and not tramlines. I am willing to take a chance by suspending the sentence in order to enable you to continue to improve your lifestyle", he told McCusker.