Lou Perese admitted delivering contraband including
cigarettes, cannabis and tattoo ink to prisoners. Photo /
The west Auckland police officer who smuggled cannabis,
tobacco and other items to prisoners was today sentenced for
150 hours' community work.
Lotovale Perese, who was a police officer for 13 years, gave
items to prisoners in court holding cells over a six month
period earlier this year.
His lawyer, Richard Earwaker, said he did so to keep the
peace in the cells as tension among prisoners was high after
the ban on smoking there.
Judge David Wilson said a prison sentence would not be
appropriate and would in fact place Perese at risk of harm
from people he used to deal with and who might have pressured
him into smuggling the items, which included tobacco, ink,
cigarettes, letters and other contraband.
It could not be proved that Perese delivered cannabis, but he
was charged with offering to supply the drug.
"It's a sad day indeed to see you in the dock," Judge Wilson
told Perese. "You've been a man who's offered a great deal to
the community ... you had conducted yourself in and around
the court in a way which earned the respect of everyone."
Both the judge and Mr Earwaker described the offending of
Perese, who previously had a clean record, as "inexplicable".
After his appearance, Perese received hugs and best wishes
from a large contingent of people who turned up to court to
watch the sentencing.
Outside court, Mr Earwaker said Perese was glad the ordeal
was over and he had "got some options"for work.
Perese never intended to cause harm, but recognised his